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.