In New York after 9/11, it was Steve Karsay.
In Boston on Saturday, it could be Tim Collins.
To play in one's hometown almost immediately after a terrorist attack - amid grief, anxiety and common purpose -- brings forth a unique set of emotions. To do so as an opposing player merely adds to the complexity.
Karsay, who grew up in Queens, was the setup man for the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium on Sept. 21, 2001 -- the first night baseball returned to New York after 9/11.
"I told myself, 'If you get into this game, you're going to have to push everything to the back of your mind and focus for 15 minutes on doing your job,'" Karsay told me in a 2011 interview. "That's what I tried to do. I got the call in the seventh inning that I had the eighth.
"You could just feel the tension in the ballpark. To be honest with you, the fans were waiting for something to happen where they could erupt and let some of that anger and anxiety out."
It happened -- with Karsay on the mound. He threw ...