CLEVELAND -- One day after a group of Mets minority owners agreed to purchase the jersey that Mike Piazza wore in the first game in New York City following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the club issued a public apology for letting the jersey out of their possession in the first place.
"We acknowledge that we made a mistake, and have instituted a new process with internal controls to prevent something like this from happening again in the future," the team said in a statement.
Piazza's jersey will physically remain with the team for a portion of the year. A group led by minority owners Anthony Scaramucci and Tony Lauto purchased the jersey from an auction house for $365,000, with plans to rotate it amongst the Mets Hall of Fame at Citi Field, the 9/11 Memorial Museum in Lower Manhattan and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
"It's an artifact very representative of New York, about New York resilience," Scaramucci said in a telephone interview. "If you were alive in New York, or you were at that game like I was on Sept. 21, 2001, there was palpable tension. There was a memorial ceremony before the game. We had F-16s in New York City airspace. We were just devastated. And I've got to tell you, it was a very emotional night."
Piazza's game-winning home run that night at Shea Stadium became one of the defining moments of his career, and of Mets history. But team ownership reportedly sold the jersey in the years following the event. Last week, auction house Goldin Auctions announced that it would put the jersey up for bid, leading to the purchase by Lauto's group.
"Huge thanks to Anthony & Tony for coming through!" Piazza tweeted Thursday. "My family & I couldn't be more pleased knowing the jersey will be where it belongs. Thank u!"
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.