Two months ago, Kass, a lifelong Mets fan, went to a tattoo parlor looking to memorialize one of his childhood idols. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Mets franchise, the 25th anniversary of their last championship and to say goodbye to one of his all-time favorite players -- the late Gary Carter -- Kass permanently imprinted a picture on his right calf of Carter and Wilson high-fiving just before Wilson's final at-bat of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. On Tuesday, without an umbrella to shield him from the rain, Kass hiked down Park Avenue to present his tribute to the former Mets outfielder.
"I remember the infamous [Bill] Buckner through the legs like it was yesterday," Kass said. "I was listening to Boomer and Carton this morning [on WFAN], and I heard he was 10 blocks away from my office. I had to make it my business to get down here."
When Kass finally made it to the front of the line and revealed his calf, Wilson let out a laugh.
"That's amazing," Wilson said. "This is a real fan."
The event was part of a series of promotions by the Mets' corporate sponsors called Citi Tuesdays, which were created to increase fan participation with former and current players. Whenever a Mets home game falls on a Tuesday, Citi organizes unique baseball experiences around New York City. On Tuesday, the branch at 90 Park Avenue hosted two players who own a pair of the most memorable plays in the 50-year history of the Mets franchise.
"To be a part of those fine memories for an organization, you have to be flattered, you have to embrace it and you have to respect the people that come out," Wilson said. "That's why I think that when the Mets do promotions like Citi Tuesdays here, now with their corporate sponsors, it's the fans that benefit, because you're giving something back to them."
Michael Sprachman came out to the event to get an autograph for his father, a Mets fan since the club's inception in 1962 and an avid suporter of Swoboda. The former right fielder was part of the 1969 Amazin' Mets, a team that shocked the world by winning 39 of its last 50 regular-season games and upsetting the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. Swoboda's catch in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the '69 World Series remains what Kass called, "the greatest catch in World Series history."
Swoboda, like Wilson, said he appreciates participating in fan-oriented events like Citi Tuesdays and fantasy camps. He enjoys trading stories about ballplayers from the 1960s and '70s and reminiscing about the team he won a ring with.
"You were the first success that this franchise had, and the people who got to witness it, who are all grownups now, come to the fantasy camps and you can make their day by talking to them about something that was important to them," Swoboda said. "All you got to do is talk about it and give them a little time of day and you feel like you gave them something. That's a privilege."
Ethan Asofsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less