Today, you go into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. Congratulations! I just want you to know that you helped inspire my love for baseball and stoked my fire to be a catcher at the age of 8 with heroics and a sweet swing at the plate which led you to become the catcher with the most home runs ever. While everyone will recall your most memorable moment after 9/11, I want to say how awesome it was to have your 301st home run ball bounce right at my foot while I played catch in the picnic area, as the home run had cleared the bleachers and bounced off just one table before reaching me.
The most interesting part of it all is how on August 9th, 2006 in your return as a Padre I happened to throw out the first pitch before you took the stage and smashed two home runs at Shea. Chris Cotter, then with SNY asked me what it was like seeing you come back and hit the home runs and I simply said “bittersweet”…it was intense because that put the Pods up for a bit in the game and sweet in the sense that you New Yorkers were able to see that power on display once again just a year after breaking the MLB catchers’ record for home runs as a Met against the Giants.
Congratulations Mike and thanks for all you brought to this city and to this kid from Manhattan!