BERKELEY – There’s probably no better honor for a Mets fan to be honored at Citi Field, and that’s just what happened to Joseph Finamore.
A World War II veteran, he’s still spry and funny, and lives with his wife Priscilla in one of Berkeley’s senior communities.
Priscilla’s grandsons called one day and asked if he’d like to be honored by the Mets during a game. He said sure but didn’t know what to expect.
He wore two important pieces of a uniform: a Mets shirt and his hat showing he was a member of the 2nd Armored Division.
“We were in the really big-shot seats,” Priscilla said, adding that they had VIP parking and the works. They brought him down between innings to give him the honor. “He was speechless.”
Pitcher Tyler McGill presented him with an American flag. McGill was injured and couldn’t play in the game, but he was still there for this special occasion. The team also gave him a 60th Anniversary coin. On the flip side was symbols of the armed forces with the statement “Thank you for your service.”
“The whole place was saying ‘Joe, thank you for your service,’” all night, Priscilla said. His face was broadcast on the big screen.
Joseph Finamore was drafted into the Army in 1944 and was honorably discharged in 1946. As a Private 1st Class, he served in the European Theater of Operations. They were the first American division in Berlin and he saw many other countries during that time. At one point, he was even stationed outside the 1945 Potsdam Conference, where the leaders of the Allied Powers – Truman, Churchill, and Stalin – met to decide how to deal with Germany’s fate after that country’s surrender.
He has many stories from the war. Now, he has another story to tell – about how his family gathered to celebrate him at the home of his team.
“We used to be Dodger fans – then they moved,” the Brooklyn native said.
“We had about 40 people from our family there,” Joe said. People came from other states, even.
“It was a good game,” he said, noting that he was so busy talking with everyone that he missed some of it. They had great seats.
“If the camera went up one row, that’s where we’d be, right between home and third base,” he said.
“It was a beautiful night,” he said. The only problem with the whole evening? The Mets lost.