Thanks to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, we all discovered that the post 9/11 jersey worn by Mike Piazza when he hit his epic homerun, was put up for auction with Goldin Auctions. The jersey faced an uncertain future until a group of three die-hard Mets fans stepped forward and purchased the jersey for a record $365,000. Part of that group included Anthony Scaramucci.
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) April 18, 2016
For those who don’t know Mr. Scaramucci, he is the founder and co-managing partner of the global investment firm SkyBridge Capital, founder of the SkyBridge Alternatives (“SALT”) Conference and host of iconic financial television show “Wall Street Week.”
Despite his busy schedule, he was able to answer some of my questions regarding his Mets fandom and the Piazza jersey:
How did you become a Mets fan?
Growing up on Long Island, I got hooked in 1969 with the Miracle Mets and the 1973 team that made it back to the World Series. They could have lost every game after that. It wouldn’t matter to a true fan.
What is your favorite Mets memory?
I’d have to say winning the World Series in ‘86. Last year’s World Series run was also a thrill, seeing our young team get back to winning ways. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the franchise.
What were your recollections from Mike Piazza’s post 9/11 homerun?
The 9/11 attacks had an impact on all Americans, but especially those living in and around New York. It was almost guaranteed that you knew someone directly or indirectly who died that day. There was no precedent for how to respond to such a tragedy. When should life return to normal? Should sports resume, and if so when? Should we play games in New York? I felt very strongly that we needed to get things back to normal as quickly as possible to honor the fallen and send a message to the world that you cannot disrupt our way of life.
In the stadium, everyone was tense and uneasy for most of the game. Players were hesitant to make a hard slide or argue a call. Everyone was sort of going through the motions. When Piazza hit that home run, the place erupted, the old suspension system at Shea was literally bouncing, everyone was hugging each other and there wasn’t a dry eye on the place. It was an outpouring of grief and the beginning of the healing process for New Yorkers and for the country.
What did the jersey mean to you?
The jersey to me is a symbol, a symbol of American resolve and resilience in the face of unspeakable tragedy, a symbol that no matter the adversity we will always pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and move forward. Some might say it was just a baseball game and it’s just a jersey, but anyone who was there or watching that day knows differently.
Why did you decide to purchase the jersey?
I know the jersey meant a lot symbolically to the people of New York – 9/11 first responders to families of the deceased to fans and former players – and when the opportunity came to get it back my partners and I just couldn’t let the opportunity pass. We wanted to make sure it came back home to New York to be displayed in the public domain forever.
At any point, did you ever consider wearing it around like George Costanza wearing Babe Ruth’s jersey on Seinfeld?
You didn’t think I would pay all that money without trying the jersey on did you? Unfortunately it isn’t quite my size. In true New York fashion, I’ve mostly been carrying it around in a garment bag on a cheap wire hanger.
Where is the jersey first going to be displayed?
We’re not 100% sure on that yet. All three venues where it will rotate (the 9/11 Memorial Museum, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Citi Field) have to figure out some display logistics, so in the meantime we’ll be showing it around and I’m going to bring it out to Las Vegas for the SkyBridge SALT Conference in May. Hopefully the flight stewardess has room to hang it up in the pilots’ closet.
How long will the jersey be on display?
We are writing a clause into the deal so the jersey will forever be displayed in the public domain, hopefully well after we’re dead and gone.
How do you feel when people thank you and your partners for purchasing the jersey?
I’m conflicted on that. On one hand obviously I appreciate the kind words and support, but I also don’t want to pretend like I’m some kind of hero for buying a jersey. There were thousands and thousands of heroes on 9/11 – workers in the towers herding others to safety, first responders rushing up into the burning buildings, volunteers digging through toxic rubble for days on end in hopes of finding one or two miraculous survivors. I feel fortunate that my success has put me in a position to contribute to a gesture like this, but the jersey and this moment isn’t about me, it’s about honoring the legacy of those who died that day.
What are your predictions for the 2016 season?
I’m an optimistic guy, but I think the Mets are going to win the whole thing. We have one of the greatest pitching staffs of all time and it’s going to be fun to see those young guys grow. Management did a great job keeping Cespedes and making some nice additions to the team. It’s going to be a year to remember.
I would also like to thank Mr. Scaramucci for taking some time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions. I would also like to thank him and his partners for purchasing the jersey and forever sharing it with the people of New York. When I tell my son about 9/11, I will also tell him how Piazza’s homerun uplifted our city and our country after the worst and most devastating terrorist attacks in United States history.