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