Mets pay tribute to longtime media relations director Horwitz

New York Mets staff and former players pose with Jay Horwitz as the press box is dedicated in his honor before the start of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday, April 17, 2022, in New York.  Horwitz, the team's director of media relations from 1980 to 2018, is currently the team's vice president of alumni relations and team historian.  (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)

New York Mets staff and former players pose with Jay Horwitz as the press box is dedicated in his honor before the start of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday, April 17, 2022, in New York. Horwitz, the team’s director of media relations from 1980 to 2018, is currently the team’s vice president of alumni relations and team historian. (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)

PA

Jay Horwitz’s first interaction with the New York Mets was in January 1980. He spilled orange juice on newly hired general manager Frank Cashen during a job interview for the team public relations department.

Horwitz never imagined 42 years later that he would be honored by the team for his career in media relations. He shared that story and other memories Sunday when the Mets dedicated the Citi Field press box in his honor before their game with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Horwitz, 76, joined the team in 80, the first year it belonged to Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday, after serving as director of sports information at Farleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. He oversaw media relations when the team became a contender and won its second World Series title in 1986.

Horwitz led the media relations department in New York’s two other World Series appearances, in the Subway Series against the Yankees in 2000 and in 2015 against the Royals. He moved on to his current role as vice president of alumni public relations and team historian in 2018, and wrote a book about his long tenure with the Mets in 2020.

“It’s crazy,” Horwitz said. “When I started, I could never have imagined this in a million years. I was a young kid in a small school in New Jersey and just to work for 42 years and have a viable job, c It’s good to be part of things at my age. It’s good to feel like you’re still making a difference in what you do.

The ceremony was attended by current owner Steve Cohen, along with Wilpon and many team employees, some wearing T-shirts with a picture of Horwitz tapping on his phone.

Longtime Mets radio announcer Howie Rose hosted the ceremony, which was attended by Mookie Wilson and Tim Teufel of the 1986 Mets, as well as Todd Zeile and John Franco of the 2000 team. of the Mets, Sandy Alderson; Terry Collins, who led the team from 2011 to 2017 and led the Mets to their most recent World Series appearance; and former chief executive Omar Minaya.

“The thing is, for everyone, who’s ever had anything to do with the New York Mets, Jay was there for them,” Rose said, “and he’s to this day how he works. for the alumni to galvanize and bring them closer to the current Mets organization than they’ve ever been. And that’s a wonderful thing to see.

After the crowded ceremony, Horwitz received a video tribute and threw the ceremonial first pitch to Franco.

The ceremony capped off a weekend of celebration in their history for the Mets. Ahead of Friday’s home opener, they unveiled a long-awaited statue of pitcher Tom Seaver in a 40-minute ceremony.

The late Hall of Famer’s wife and two daughters were the center of the festivities. The monument, measuring 10 feet high and 13 1/2 feet long, depicts Seaver’s classic delivery, a baseball in his right hand.

On Saturday, Gil Hodges’ family had the honor of celebrating his long-awaited induction into the Hall of Fame in July. Hodges hit 370 homers and made eight all-star teams with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers. He is also known for leading Seaver and the Mets to their first World Series in 1969 after a losing streak.

Hodges, who died of a heart attack on April 2, 1972, two days before his 48th birthday, was elected to the Hall of Fame in December by a special committee, ending a 50-year wait.

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