A two-year teammate of Mark Hindy at Vanderbilt, current Chicago White Sox catcher Josh Paul wrote the following for the Chicago Tribune following the tragedy.

By Josh Paul
September 25, 2001
Copyright 2001, Chicago Tribune

We arrived in New York to play the Yankees early on the morning of Sept. 11, and I finally got to bed around 3 a.m. The phone rang a little before 10.

"J.P., turn on the TV," Sandy Alomar said.

"What do you want? It's not even 10 yet."

"Just turn on the TV."

"Fine. What channel?"

"Just turn it on," he said as he hung up.

I turned on the TV. My mouth dropped. Both towers of the World Trade Center were burning on their upper floors.

Minutes passed. A woman was being interviewed about her reaction to the plane crashes. The towers loomed over her shoulder. She was mid-sentence when one began to collapse. She screamed.

What about all the people on the ground? What about the people in the tower? I couldn't feel my toes. The smoke and debris filled the valleys of the city, chasing dumbstruck onlookers. They gawked until the silver-yellow cloud was right on top of them. Then they slowly, almost half-heartedly, began to run.

My fiance, Kelly, was with me and was wondering the same thing I was. Is this real? Is this a movie? I had always wondered what it would be like if the Sears Tower fell over. My daydreams came true.

We snapped out of it long enough to call our parents to tell them we were safe.

We watched the TV all day. Two things happened, which I only sensed later. Time stopped, yet we grew older. Seven hours passed on the clock, yet seven minutes in my mind. Still, I felt my eyes sink slightly into my skull and a few lines form on my face.

They say when you grow old, others can tell what sort of life you've had by the features of your face. Someday I believe my grandkids will be able to see this day on my face without even hearing the story.

I tried all day to call friends who live in the city. I played baseball with Mark Hindy at Vanderbilt. I knew he worked downtown in the financial district, but didn't know exactly where. I left several messages on his cell phone. No response.

That night there was no chance of actually sleeping. I sat up in bed and watched dumbly as the coverage continued. The reporters reviewing the attack and showing new developments strangely comforted me. I didn't want to be left alone with my own thoughts. The dream world presented a vision of hell. I wanted no part.

The next day we had a long bus ride to Chicago. My sense of time remained warped. The trip seemed to fly by. That was partly because nobody complained during the whole trip. Baseball players complain about everything. We're terrible about that. I didn't hear one word. I tried calling Hindy every chance I got. No response.

Fifteen hours later, I fell into bed. When I woke up, I called Mark's apartment number. I left a new message. Maybe he would respond to this one. I didn't get the response I was looking for. Mark's friend, Drew Donahue, informed me that Mark was working in one of the towers at the time of the attacks. He was missing.

On the Day of Prayer and Remembrance, the team worked out at Comiskey Park. We observed the national moment of silence. I lost it. It was so bad the coaching staff sent me home.

The first game back was against the Yankees. I was glad Mark Johnson was catching because I still wasn't really there. He came back to the dugout after catching an inning and told me how spooky it was on the field. It didn't feel like baseball. It was like the players were going through the motions. What will it be like when it's my turn to play? How will I react?

My first start since the attack came on the last night of the Yankee series. Somehow I settled into the rhythm of the game. In his book "Sacred Hoops," Phil Jackson talks about losing yourself in the game. In his eyes, the beauty of basketball is you can forget about everything else in the world for three hours. I got a chance to appreciate that phenomenon. I hit a bases-loaded double and we won, but my emotions were subdued.

Mark was the kind of guy who made it tough for you to feel down. He always had a good story and a smile for you. I looked forward to New York trips because I knew I would see him. Mark had one of those infectious laughs. If you were anywhere near him when he started to laugh, before you knew it, your stomach hurt and your eyes were full of tears.

My stomach still hurts and my eyes are still full of tears, but now it's because I miss you, Mark.


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