KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza is not happy that the jersey he wore during the first game back after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is scheduled be auctioned off later this month.
Goldin Auctions plans to auction the jersey April 30 in New York City, ESPN's Darren Rovell reported last week.
"I'm very disappointed with the situation regarding my game jersey from Sept. 21, 2001," Piazza told the New York Post. "I've expressed my feelings to [chief operating officer] Jeff [Wilpon] and the Mets. And while it never should have left Citi Field, they have assured me that contact with the seller has been made and they are making a concerted effort to get the jersey back. I'm hopeful that an agreement can be reached and we can give back to the fans and all New Yorkers a piece of that evening that was more than just a game."
Goldin has said the jersey was consigned to the auction by the world's biggest Mets memorabilia collector, who lent it to the team for its museum but recently got it back to put it in the auction.
"We made a mistake in selling the jersey, and Jeff called Mike to express our regret in so doing," a Mets spokesperson said in a statement to the Post. "We have dedicated a section in the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum to celebrate Mike's achievements and his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and are exploring memorabilia to display in that area. We can't verify the item being auctioned, but can confirm that our memorabilia group sold a jersey that meets this description, which was not authenticated with respect to game use."
Goldin Auctions owner Ken Goldin, however, told ESPN that the Mets did indeed verify the jersey's authenticity regarding game use.
"It comes with a letter of authenticity from the New York Mets, it comes with a photo-matched letter of authenticity from MeiGray, it comes with the display plaque when it hung in the Mets Museum that states, 'In this jersey Mike Piazza hit the game-winning home run on 9/21/2001,'" Goldin said.
Goldin also said he had the receipt from the consignor, as well as "numerous emails and discussions" between the consignor and the team about the jersey.
Piazza wore it for the game on Sept. 21, 2001 -- the first regular-season game played at home by a New York team after the Sept. 11 attacks that killed more than 2,600 in and around the World Trade Center towers.
On an emotional night, Piazza's two-run home run in the eighth inning gave the Mets a 3-2 lead against the Atlanta Braves. The crowd stood on its feet not only to salute Piazza, but also to show joy again by clapping, waving flags and chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
The jersey has an American flag patch on the back collar and 9-11-01 with American flags sewn on the right sleeve. The jersey is also signed by Piazza, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.