The 9/11 Baseball

By Craig Muder

Eleven years ago today, I stood watching the TV in disbelief at the absolute horror taking place throughout our country. A former co-worker leaned over while watching the coverage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and said: “This country will never be the same.”

I recoiled at that statement. Even at that low point, I sensed it was not true. Of all of America’s strengths, maybe its greatest is our ability to put the past behind us and move forward.

A promotional baseball found in the 9/11 debris donated by New York City fireman Vin Mavaro. (Craig Muder/NBHOF Library)

Weeks later, a New York City fireman named Vin Mavaro was cleaning up debris at Ground Zero. He came across a white, round object that he first thought was a piece of concrete. Unable to grasp exactly what it was – in the midst of so much destruction – he leaned down and picked up a baseball.

It was a promotional ball from a company named TradeWeb that had offices in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The ball had facsimile signatures from companies – like Goldman Sachs – that did business with TradeWeb. It was scratched and cut, but miraculously came through the attacks in one piece.

Mavaro said that when he held the ball, he flashed to his son’s Little League field – remembering better days.

“The ball’s nicked up, but it’s intact and it came through,” Mavaro said. “I feel the same about New York City, the Fire Department and the United States. We’re banged up, we took a hit, but we came through.”

Mavaro contacted the folks at TradeWeb, who told him that all of their employees had escaped the tower and that he could keep the ball, which had been sitting on a TradeWeb employee’s desk. After loaning it to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for the Hall’s Baseball As America national tour, Mavaro changed the loan into a permanent donation in 2008.

At one of this country’s darkest hours, it was baseball that provided a ray of hope.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum


When I found the baseball almost 11 years ago I was searching for something positive and uplifting . For the past month all I did was work tours at the firehouse, at the WTC site, and attended funerals. Being a positive person I was looking for something, anything that wasn’t tragic. Yes there were 10’s of thousands of survivors safely evacuated, there were some firefighters who were able to crawl out of that that incredible collapse wreckage, and some of my co-workers whom I feared the worst for had survived and I was thankful for that. When I found that one piece object that was intact in the area that I was searching I wondered what floor it came from, what person’s desk it was on, etc. This spurred me to look up the company on the web. When I saw that all the employees has survived I had another connection with personal survival that did lift my spirits. I emailed the company and many employees there now they had a personal connection with a first responder that they were thankful for. Months later they invited me to their offices and presented me with a replica of the baseball on a stand with the copy of my email. It is one of my most cherished possessions. 11 years later I am still a member of the FDNY a baseball lover and still feel the hope that that baseball symbolized to me at that tragic time.
I am honored that this item can remind people visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame of the events of 9/11 and the institutions of our great American culture like baseball that help us endure our tragedies.

Vin Mavaro
Battalion Chief FDNY

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