FLASHBACK: Hugo Chavez Visits Shea Stadium

Long before NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman showed up in North Korea to hang out with Kim Jong Un…recently deceased Venezuelan dictator, er, president Hugo Chávez was a guest of the New York Mets. 

On June 9, 1999, the team invited the polarizing president to throw out the first pitch.  And dude seemed pretty pleased about it.

The 58-year-old Chávez, who died Tuesday from cancer, is being remembered in a variety of different ways by countless outlets, but over at SI.com, they're remembering his as, well…"a lifelong baseball fan".

But, here's the awesome sidenote from that game.

As it turns out, the same night Chávez took the mound, that ceremonial first pitch wasn't the only thing thrown out…it was also the same night Mets skipper Bobby Valentine was tossed for arguing a catcher's interference call in the 12th inning.  Oh, in case you were wondering, the Mets beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3.  Rey Ordonez slapped a 14th inning single into left, driving home Luis Lopez.

Shawn Anderson

About Shawn Anderson

Shawn Anderson is that guy who, instead of sitting there talking about the game going on around him, is talking wise about the history of baseball. He believes baseball figures such as Tommy John, Harold Baines, Ron Guidry and Billy Martin deserve their own plaque somewhere if not in Cooperstown. You can follow him on Twitter at @HOVG.