The idea of Mike Piazza’s revered post-9/11 jersey leaving New York struck three die-hard Mets fans as blasphemous.
The deep-pocketed trio stepped up to the plate Thursday with a record-winning bid of $ 365,000 to insure the sacred shirt remains available to the team, its boosters and the baseball Hall of Fame.
“This jersey means so much to the entire city of New York, and we wanted it to remain in New York,” said former Goldman Sachs head trader Tony Lauto, one of the buyers.
“We spoke to Mike (Piazza) last night as it was becoming more serious, and he was so appreciative, so that was another motivating factor,” said Lauto.
“We thought, even if (the buyer) was only from out of town, even Chicago, that would be like having it leave the country,” he continued. “This has to be for the fans to enjoy.”
Lauto teamed with SkyBridge Capital founder Anthony Scaramucci and a third, unidentified partner to land the iconic item.
Piazza wore the jersey when he slammed a two-run homer at Shea Stadium as baseball returned to the city for the first time since the Twin Towers collapsed.
The shirt, with an American flag on the back collar and 9-11-01 on the right sleeve, was signed by Piazza.
“Huge thanks to Anthony & Tony for coming through!” future Hall of Famer Piazza tweeted Thursday afternoon. “My family & I couldn’t be more pleased knowing the jersey will be where it belongs. Thank u!”
The No. 31 jersey will reportedly spend time at Citi Field, the 9/11 Memorial Museum in Lower Manhattan, and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Lauto said he lost friends when terrorists brought down the World Trade Center.
Huge thanks to Anthony & Tony for coming through!My family & I couldn’t be more pleased knowing the jersey will be where it belongs.Thank u!
— Mike Piazza (@mikepiazza31) April 14, 2016
Piazza, in a feat permanently etched into the city’s memory, wore the jersey when he slammed a two-run homer at Shea Stadium as baseball returned to the city for the first time since the Twin Towers collapsed.
The blast lifted the Mets past the Atlanta Braves, 3-2, as the city struggled to regain its equilibrium in the dark days after the terrorist attack.
The Mets sold the jersey three years ago to a private collector with a massive team memorabilia collection.
According to Ken Goldin, whose New Jersey-based Goldin Auctions handled the bidding, a formal announcement is expected Monday after the trio outbid four other interested parties.
It was the highest price ever paid for a modern day jersey, topping the $ 303,000 paid for Kirk Gibson’s 1988 “limp-off” home run jersey from the World Series.
“I’m glad for the city of New York that this has worked out,” said Goldin. “It is something I thought was the right thing to do.
“Sometimes it is more important to see something like this get treated the right way than to get every last penny out of an item.”