Results tagged ‘ World Trade Center ’

10 Years After: Remembering 9-11

By Jeff Idelson

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I woke up to beautiful late summer/early fall conditions.  Warm temperatures and a good-looking day.

After my morning run and breakfast, I headed to the office to pick up a few things before leaving for Albany International Airport. I was on my way to Baltimore to see Cal Ripken, who was planning to retire at season’s end.

The purpose of the meeting was to determine what artifacts Cal would consider sending to the Hall of Fame, once the season ended, as well as how they would be presented to us. Would it be at the ballpark? Quietly, or in a ceremony? The day of the final game or some other time?

Cal had a long history of presenting historic artifacts to the Museum, so we knew he understood the enormity of his career concluding, and how we would recognize this sure-fire, first-ballot future Hall of Famer in Cooperstown.

I left the Hall of Fame at 8:30 am for an 11 a.m. flight on Southwest Airlines. From there, I planned to make my way to Cal’s hometown, Aberdeen, Md., for a lunch-time meeting with Cal and Orioles PR chief John Maroon. We had arranged the meeting a few weeks prior, and picked September 11 because it was an off-day for the Orioles, who returned home on a redeye from Seattle after playing on the 10th.

As I left Cooperstown that morning, I tuned the radio dial to the 50,000-watt news station out of Albany, WGY Radio. I was about 40 miles north and west of Cooperstown when I heard about the planes hitting the World Trade Center and then the Pentagon. Without the benefit of owning a cell phone at the time and without access to a television, I listened in amazement, not realizing the enormity of what was happening.

Then the report came that all airports were closed. I was already really nervous and frightened hearing about the plane crashes and when it was reported that all airports were closed, I was more than happy to turn around, which I had been contemplating anyhow. When I returned to the Hall of Fame and put on the television, I realized the severity of what had happened.

We ended up having the meeting by telephone a few weeks later. I went to Baltimore for Cal’s final game. Afterward at the press conference, he took off his jersey and handed it to me along with his glove, with his kids by his side. I flew home to Cooperstown with the artifacts the next morning, where they were put on exhibit as a remembrance of Cal’s indelible career, and – to me – as a reminder of a tragic day in American history.

Jeff Idelson is the President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Baseball Credited with the Save

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Even during America’s darkest days, baseball provides a little light.

9-11-09-Carr_Seigel.jpgOn Friday, Sept. 11, newlyweds Jason and Jody Seigel visited the Baseball Hall of Fame as part of their honeymoon. The date could not have been more significant for Jason.

During their visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Seigels were wearing shirts to honor victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“We try to wear these shirts once a year on this date to remember what happened on 9-11. For me, it always feels like I got a second chance at life that day. I lost about 23 friends in those attacks,” said Jason.

Back in 2001, Jason was asked to be the best man at a friend’s wedding. He was living in North Carolina at the time, and planned to travel to the New Jersey area for the wedding. As a Mets fan, Seigel thought it would be fun to catch a ballgame with his friend – who is a Phillies fan – as a bachelor party-type celebration of the wedding.

“We decided the two of us would go to the Labor Day game between the Phillies and the Mets (in Philadelphia),” said Seigel.

9-11-09-Carr_Crowd.jpgDespite having seats just a few rows from the third base line, Jason’s friend had to miss the game due to a scheduling conflict.

“So without hesitating, I thought of all the games my dad took me to as a child and decided it was time to pay my dad back with a trip to the ballpark,” said Seigel.

On Sept. 3, 2001, Jason and his dad watched as the Mets beat the Phillies 10-7.

“We had a great day, we spoke to each other as two adults do, talking not only as father and son, but also as two dads. We discussed our jobs, our marriages and we drank in every moment of the close game.”

During the game, Seigel found out from work that he’d be back up north in a week for a business meeting in New York City. His dad suggested instead of making two trips to try and hold the meeting a week early and save himself the time.

“The baseball game we watched had made me feel very close to my dad, and put me back in a place I used to be as a child – taking advice from him as if he could do no wrong by giving it,” said Seigel.

9-11-09-Carr_Piazza.jpgSeigel took the advice and arranged plans with his boss to hold the client meetings the following day – Tuesday, Sept. 4.

“So you see, if I had not gone to the game with my father, and took his advice, I would have been in (World Trade Center) Tower One at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, and not a week earlier on Sept. 4.”

Jason will never forget how baseball saved his life.

“For me, baseball was always an island of peace when I was growing up. I’d go to the game with my dad and we’d just talk about baseball, not about school or what I might have done wrong that day. Just baseball. It is still an island of peace for me.”

Samantha Carr is media relations coordinator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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