On Sept. 11, 2001, Royals manager Ned Yost was serving as a coach on the staff of the Atlanta Braves. One week after the attacks at the World Trade Center, the Braves found themselves in New York to face the Mets, and Yost found himself at ground zero.
Before the Royals’ victory over the White Sox on Sunday, Yost shared this story:
“Me and (catcher) Javy Lopez and somebody else went down to ground zero,” Yost recalled. “They were still searching for survivors. We were there with the Port Authority police. I remember walking in to that area and there was a blackboard with 40 or so names on it, and there were stars on three of the names. A policeman told us that those were the names of policemen that were missing and the stars are the ones they’d recovered so far.
“They were still in recovery. They were still looking for survivors at that point. The building was still smoking. You could still smell the jet fuel. They were digging. There was a line of guys digging where they thought there might be a stairwell. They were digging with their bare hands and five-gallon buckets. When the building collapsed, it vaporized the concrete. There were no blocks of concrete anywhere. It was just steel and dust. It was incredible to witness it first-hand.
“We just wanted to go down there and support the officers. I remember finding a plaque where the wood was gone and all that was left was the metal. It was a plaque honoring the 100 most influential black men of America. There was no telling how many stories that rolled down. I picked it up and gave it to a policeman, and he said he would try to get it back to his family.”