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December 14, 2018

Ackert: David Wright takes his final bow in a Mets uniform, but what he’ll likely be most remembered for is a genuine connection to fans

September 30, 2018

In the end, there were tears and his trademark smile.




Before the first pitch of the fifth inning Saturday, David Wright turned around at third base, looked up and took it all in. He walked slowly toward the dugout, tapping his fist to his heart and pointing to every direction of Citi Field, even blowing a kiss to the sell-out crowd that had come for this moment.

Wright’s eyes were wet with tears as he walked off the field as a major league baseball player for the final time.

It took over two years for Wright to get to Saturday night. Through spinal stenosis, back surgery, neck surgery and shoulder surgery, Wright never thought about just walking away. He battled back for this chance to walk off the field and say a proper goodbye to the game, the fans and the only team he ever knew.

He wanted his two daughters, Olivia Shea, named for the Stadium where he made his major league debut, and Maddie to have one chance to see him play.

He called it a goal accomplished, “not exactly how I wanted it,” and he’s not exactly at peace with being forced out of the game, but he wanted at least to have Saturday night.

And he took in every moment of it.

David Wright greets fans before his final game as a Met. (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

“I’ve never really been one to love the spotlight. I love the playing field and I love to be part of a team, but to be singled out was something that was a little for me at least uncomfortable. But I can’t tell you how much I loved the fans’ reaction. I can’t tell you how much I loved the city’s reaction. It was truly amazing,” Wright said after the Mets’ finally pulled out a 1-0 win in the 13th inning. “I can’t thank everybody enough. It hit me right in the heart when I took the field the first time and heard the fans cheering. That is something that I’ll always remember. Tonight was just so truly special.”

Saturday night was the most meaningful game the Mets played all season for the 43,928 fans that packed Citi Field. The score and the outcome were irrelevant; the moments and memories were what mattered.

It began with Wright catching the first pitch from his daughter Olivia, with his parents, wife Molly and daughter Maddie behind her. It peaked with Wright’s two at-bats, earning a standing ovation for drawing a full-count walk in the first inning and turning Marlins first baseman Peter O’Brien into the villain of Flushing for catching his foul pop up in the fourth, his final career at-bat.

David Wright dons No.5 Mets uniform for the final time.
David Wright dons No.5 Mets uniform for the final time. (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

Wright’s teammates on the field stood in position and clapped as he walked slowly toward the dugout for the final time. The Marlins stood on the top step of their dugout and applauded as he walked to the first-base line where the rest of his teammates waited. With tears now running down his cheeks, Wright’s smile grew brighter as he acknowledged his family, before hugging each teammate, coach, bat boy, trainer and physical therapist. He popped up for one final curtain call, and then — in the most Metsian way — had to wait eight innings before coming back on the field to address the remaining fans.

“This is love,” Wright said to the adoring crowd. He thanked them for having his back and cheering him, before taking a moment to turn and look all around. “You guys are going to make me cry again. I love you guys.”

Wright has put up plenty of numbers over his 14-year career. He is a seven-time All-Star, a two-time Gold Glove winner and Silver Slugger recipient. He holds the franchise record in hits (1,777), RBI (970), runs scored (949), doubles (390), total bases (2,945), extra-base hits (658) and walks (762). He is the longest-tenured captain in franchise history and has been the face of the franchise through the early successful years and the more recent struggles, always with humility, grace and not a whiff of controversy.

But what Wright will likely be remembered for most is the connection he made with these fans. Saturday, there were about five to six dozen waiting for him when he arrived at the park; they stood and cheered every move he made leading up to his final exit.

And he felt it all, because he knew how they felt.




“As one of them,” was how Wright said he wanted to be remembered. “One of them.”

Related Gallery

Get a look inside David Wright's emotional last game in a Mets uniform




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