#Cubs Maddon recalls buddy killed on 9/11

The flags were at half staff Friday at Citizens Bank Park to honor those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks 14 years ago on Sept. 11. Some of the Cubs players and coaches were telling stories about where they were that day. Catcher David Ross was playing for Jacksonville in the Double-A playoffs. Shortstop Addison Russell was in second grade.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon remembers where he was that day, and a friend he lost. On Friday, he reached out and sent a text message to the brother of a fraternity buddy who was at the World Trade Center that day.

“I was with the Angels and we were at home in Long Beach,” Maddon said, recalling the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. “I got into my Dodge Ram pickup truck and turned the tradio on and the reports were coming in and I thought it was another ‘War of the Worlds’ kind of hoax and a made up event or moment. I figured out it wasn’t.

“That particular day, my buddy, Neil, had just been appointed the head of the [New York] Port Authority,” Maddon said of Neil Levin, who was his fraternity brother. “We had just been in contact for the first time in 20 something years prior to that. I knew he worked at the World Trade Center.”

Hearing that the towers had been targeted, Maddon tried to calm his fears.

“My thought was, ‘OK, it happened early enough, he’s the boss, please don’t go to work early,'” Maddon said. “But apparently he was up in the restaurant when that all happened. I never got a chance to see Neil. I believe he would’ve been governor of New York now had he lived.”

Levin, who had gone to Lafayette College with Maddon, was killed five days before his 47th birthday. He and Maddon had talked about a month before, planning on a get together in New York.

“Neil’s gone,” Maddon said. “A lot of people have a lot of different stories but Neil was my horrible moment from that day.”

— Carrie Muskat


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I picked up the phone that morning and my son said “Mom you better turn the TV on”.As Joe Madden said, at first you think you are watching a movie, this is not real! A hoax for sure. All these years later Joe has never forgotten his friend or his family. Thank you for writing this for us, Carrie. It is a reminder of the value of life and of friendship.

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