Mets visit families of police slain on 9/11

By Zach Braziller New York Post

Jacob deGrom, John Franco (from left) and Daniel Murphy (far right) visit with the family of James Leahy, a member of the 6th precinct in the towers who was killed on September 11, 2001.Photo: Courtesy of NY Mets

Jacob deGrom, John Franco (from left) and Daniel Murphy (far right) visit with the family of James Leahy, a member of the 6th precinct in the towers who was killed on September 11, 2001.Photo: Courtesy of NY Mets

Thirteen years ago, the Mets led the charge in helping New York City recover from the World Trade Center attacks.

They haven’t forgotten about that tragic day.

Jacob deGrom, Daniel Murphy and former Mets closer John Franco spent the day Thursday at 1 Police Plaza, meeting with the families of the 23 NYPD officers who died on September 11, 2001.

After the families gathered in lower Manhattan to hear read aloud the names of all those killed when the towers fell and mourn those lost, the current and former Mets chatted with the families, signed autographs and posed for photos.

Most importantly, they made a day full of pain somewhat happier.

“It was really nice, just going there, being able to put a smile on their face for just a little bit, talk to them a little bit,” deGrom said. “Hopefully we helped brighten their day. It was a good feeling. They were just really thankful to have us there. … [I wanted to] give back to those people whose family members made a sacrifice for the good of this city.”

It capped a busy week of remembrance for the Mets. On Tuesday, manager Terry Collins, right-hander Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud toured the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in lower Manhattan.

On Wednesday, third baseman David Wright and right-hander Dillon Gee visited FDNY Squad 288, HazMat 1 in Maspeth, a firehouse that lost 19 men on 9/11. It was the 10th straight year Wright has visited a firehouse on Sept. 11.

At the time of the attacks, deGrom was just 13 years old living in Florida, but he recalled watched the terrifying footage.

“Everybody was just like, ‘Wow, this is a really tragic thing that happened. Why would somebody do that?’ ” he said. “I’m sure up here the reaction was a lot different.”

Mets media relations director Jay Horwitz approached deGrom about Thursday’s event weeks ago, and the rookie jumped at the opportunity.

“I would like to do it again next year,” the NL Rookie of the Year hopeful said. “It was fun.”

The gesture meant a lot to the families. Officer James Leahy was lost on 9/11. His family became Mets’ fans because of him.

“We followed them religiously,” his mother, Jeanette Leahy, said. “Having the players come down here, especially on a day like today, is meaningful for my entire family. It shows they haven’t forgotten.”

Her grandson, policeman Joe Safatle, was also there to meet the Mets. It left a lasting impression on him.

“The Mets were our favorite teams before they came down here today,” Safatle said. “Now I even root for them harder because they came down to headquarters and spent some time with our families that are still grieving.

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