Nationals manager Davey Martinez remembers Mike Piazza's historic home run from Sept. 21, 2001.
Not because he watched it on TV, but because he watched it fly through the air in-person.
It was his last season in MLB, and Martinez was present at that memorable game, the first sporting event in New York City after the 9/11 attacks as his Braves were facing the New York Mets on Sept. 21, 2001.
Before the Nationals game against the Twins in Minnesota Wednesday night, Martinez teared up as he recalled Piazza's home run, the atmosphere of Shea Stadium and visiting Ground Zero with Atlanta.
A really emotional pregame media session with Dave Martinez just now. He was playing first base when Mike Piazza hit the home run during the first game back at Shea Stadium after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Had tears in his eyes recalling the moment and that time.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) September 11, 2019
Davey Martinez was playing first base when Mike Piazza hit the home run for the Mets after 9/11/2001. He went to Ground Zero with the Braves. Very emotional press conference #NeverForget— Alex Chappell (@AlexChappell) September 11, 2019
Piazza's home run brought joy to New Yorkers, arguably for the first time since the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Bigger than baseball. pic.twitter.com/rs1QWTWgAS— MLB (@MLB) September 11, 2019
Martinez didn't start that game, but he entered in the top of the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter, then moved to first base ahead of the fateful bottom half of the inning.
The Braves ahead 2-1, Piazza stepped to the plate with one out and sent a two-run, go-ahead home run soaring through the air.
Davey Martinez on playing first base in this game: “when Piazza hit the home run, I just kind of stood back & watched him jog by me, and wow. I just listened. I could hear all the fans, look in the stands there were people crying” https://t.co/C5oNNd0H96— Alex Chappell (@AlexChappell) September 11, 2019
Most sports fans remember that moment. Most people, in general, remember that moment. But Martinez remembers it first-hand, a memory he shares with only a few thousand people.
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