Hi everyone!This is Steve’s father. I want to thank everyone who wrote all those beautiful stories about him. Ihave not been able to really talk about him in public because I really cant finish a sentence without breaking. This tragedy has really taken an effect on me whenever I think of him and I think of him alot. They say time heals all wounds but I’m 72 years old and I dont think I have enough time in my lifetime to heal this one. I miss him terribly. It is true that in the poem that he wrote stickball brought us closer together, but we were always a close family.It is true though that steve was a very good person,a loving son, a loving husband and a loving father and from all the stories in this column, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart
My name is Gidgette Nieves. I am the daughter of Bob and Elena Ortiz – we live in San Diego, California. I always looked forward to the San Diego tournaments to see Steve Mercado and his family. We miss them. Here is something I wrote for the people who mourn. For They Will Be Comforted In the name of Jesus, we praise You and Worship You, our Lord God. My children, I am your Comforter and Guide in This life and everlasting. In this world, death is not knowing Me and not Following Me. In addtion, death is no longer An Existence of a being. However, life is knowing Me and following My Ways, and, therefore, life is everlasting. My spirit lives in all who receive Me, and your Spirit lives forever when your spirit leaves This world. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, The Lord has raised Him up. There is peace. For I have prepared a place For all, a place, a kingdom for all My children. And from this day, henceforth, blessed are Thos who mourn, For They Will Be Comforted!!! God Bless You
I’m a fire-fighter from Liverpool, England. I never met Steve, but I’ve met his parents, Mary and Lou, several times on vacation in Miami. When they first told they had a son who was a NYC fire-fighter I gave them one of my uniform shirts to pass onto Steve. About 3 weeks later, after we arrived home, I recieved a parcel from Steve’s parents, it was one of Steve’s Fire House T shirts that he had asked his Mom to pass onto me. That was in June 2001, tragically the horrific events of 9/11 took the life of what I know to be a devoted father and husband and a loving son, as well as a brave and dedicated fire-fighter. I would of liked to have met Steve, have a beer or two, just hang out for a few hours, sadly that won’t happen, but I can see from the messages on this site that those who did meet him knew someone special and that they are so proud and privilaged to have known him. God Bless Steve.
September 11, 2003- As I sit here 2 years later thinking about Steve, I realize there is nothing that I can say that would carry an significance whatsoever. In fact, it is possible that no one will ever even read this. It is, however, important to me to say something. Like many others, I met Steve through the great sport of stickball. It was easy to see his passion for the game. He backed up that passion with a load of talent as well. During the games anything was fair game: your skill, your clothes, your heritage, your mother! After the game was another story. We would shake hands, discuss strategy, relive plays from the previous game and talk about the state of stickball in San Diego, where I live. I spoke to Steve during the Labor Day tournament here in San Diego just before 9/11 2001. He was really pleased with how the sport was growing and how the level of competition was improving. He offered me all kinds of advice about the game based on his experience. I vividly remember Steve helping his son with his hitting on one of the empty fields. That is is how I will remember Steve Mercado. Yes he was a great stickball player. Yes he was a courageous firefighter. Yes he was a devoted husband. But when I picture Steve in my mind, I still see him out in the middle of the street with his son. Steve was a father. I carry a picture in my wallet of Steve and Skylar holding up the first place trophy from the last stickball tournament Steve played. I think it is a great tribute that they have renamed Stickball Blvd, in the Bronx to Steve Mercado, Stickball Blvd. It was impossible for me not to get choked up during the dedication ceremony. I did not know Steve as well as many of the people who have contributed messages here, but he touched my life, as I’m sure he did thousands of others. Steve was a good man with a great heart. I will never forget. Ed Marquis
I knew Steve as a young teenager. For three years we played little league baseball together on the team sponsored by Lochard Realty on Castle Hill Avenue. I didn’t stay in touch with him through the years as he attended Norman Thomas and I and the rest of the guys we knew attended Stevenson. I can only say that as a young man Steve was a good guy. As far as the sport goes, everyone who reads these messages will know what I knew 26 years ago, and that is “Steve loved baseball”, in any fashion. As long as there was a bat and a ball, there would be a game. I had found out about Steve’s untimely passing while browsing the different websites created since that tragic day. I was shocked as I am sure everyone else was when they found out. It is strange how playing sports creates this comraderie that stays with you forever. After years of living outside the borough and missing it terribly, I moved back to the Bronx. When I was bringing the last load of stuff to my apartment, I decided to pass by the old school to take a look at it’s condition. The school wasn’t what it used to be, but I saw something that I had not known existed in the “hood”. A bunch of guys playing stickball. I hadn’t seen that since I was maybe 8 years old. My father and his friends and sons played back on Elder Avenue in the 50’s and 60’s. That was when I got my first taste of baseball. As I pulled closer to the game I could see I didn’t know any of the guys except one. That was Steve. I was amazed to see how he had filled out as a man. Steve was a very small guy when we played ball together. I was afraid to approach because everyone was “into the game”. Guys were tense, talking trash etc. Seeing how things have since turned out, I am sorry I didn’t. A great man of our community has been lost. I will miss him. My love and prayers go out to his wife and family. You will be sorely missed. If there are any other tributes too, or planned fund raisers for Steve’s family, I would love to take part in them. Please anyone who is in touch with the league or knows of these functions, I ask that you forward such info to my e-mail address.
September 11, 2002 San Diego California To honor those who lost their lives one year ago, local radio station STAR 100.7 morning show hosts Jeff and Jer encouraged listeners to come to Qualcomm Stadium starting at 6am to read all the names and ring the “Freedom Bell” for each of the victims live on the radio. Listeners started lining up at 7pm the night before. I arrived at about 11:30am September 11, and at approximagely 1:15pm PST I was given the honor of reading the name of Steve Mercado. A man I will not meet until I join him in heaven. I too am 38 years old, so when I received his name it hit especially hard. On my chest I wear a badge bearing his name, his age and the fact that he lost his life on September 11th, 2001 at the World Trade Center, one of many Hero’s our country owes for protecting our lives and our freedom. Unfortunately there isn’t enough room on the badge to describe all the wonderful things Steve stood for. My heart and prayers go out to Steve’s family. Steve will not be forgotten. A friend from Phoenix, Mike Martin, penned these words shortly after September 11th, and I have them on my computer with a backdrop of the WTC towers: In sun rises and sunsets, The peaceful nations will stand tall Through our strides for hates retreat, We may encounter deaths lowly call But the ringing in our hearts, is for Freedom that we pray Will prevail and make us strong, No matter what may come our way. I rang the bell for Steve today…and it will forever ring in my family’s heart, for Steve and his fellow Freedom loving Americans. Scott Baker San Diego, California.