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Mayor, Queens officials celebrate opening of new East Elmhurst school named after late 1969 Mets star Tommie Agee

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Mayor Eric Adams and Borough President Donovan Richards join Tommie Agee’s wife and daughter to cut the ribbon and to celebrate the opening of the Tommie L. Agee Educational Campus in East Elmhurst on Aug. 26. (Photo courtesy of Richards’ office)

Several elected officials joined members of the 1969 Mets and the family of their late teammate Tommie Agee to celebrate the opening of the Tommie L. Agee Educational Campus in East Elmhurst Friday, Aug. 26. Several people in attendance spoke about the significance of Agee being honored this way in a community he loved.

Some of the notable speakers included Mayor Eric Adams, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, 1969 Mets outfielder Cleon Jones and Agee’s widow and daughter Maxcine and J’nelle Agee. In addition to speaking about how much Tommie Agee meant to the Mets organization, the speakers also discussed how important the East Elmhurst community was to him.

Agee
Photo by Ethan Marshall

The location of the new school was notable in that it previously occupied a nightclub and restaurant that Agee ran, where he eventually met his wife Maxcine.

“He was dedicated to the people in this area. He loved the people in the area,” Jones said. “You certainly loved him back by giving him this honor. You could pat him on the back, but he would never pat himself on the back. It was a pleasure for me to know this man because he was one-of-a-kind.”

The idea to name the school after Agee was thought of by Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry. However, Aubry was unable to make the ceremony because he was ill, though his fellow government officials made sure to recognize him for helping to make this happen.

Maxcine and J’nelle Agee went into deep detail describing the kind of man Agee was.

“As a retired teacher of seventh-grade students, I am thrilled at this new building and the opportunities that will be available to the students and the staff that this wonderful school will realize,” Maxcine said. “Tommie would’ve been so proud to be recognized for supporting the educational opportunities for the students here at East Elmhurst.”

Maxcine Agee addresses the crowd. (Photo courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

J’nelle fought back tears toward the end of her speech.

J’nelle Agee fought back tears toward the end of her speech. (Photo courtesy of the mayor’s office)

“East Elmhurst is where we called home and now it’s where the Tommie L. Agee Educational Campus will call home, too,” J’nelle said. “To have my dad’s name immortalized on this building in East Elmhurst, where he lived for over 30 years, is just an honor — something I’m sure he wouldn’t have imagined. Thank you again to the city and this amazing community for honoring the work and dedication he stood for.”

Agee was the first African American MLB player to win a Gold Glove award in both the American League and National League. During the Mets’ 1969 run to the World Series title, he hit 26 home runs with 76 runs batted in. He is credited with hitting the longest home run to reach the seats in Shea Stadium’s history when his 505-foot blast on April 10, 1969, landed in the upper deck seats behind the left field foul pole. He is also well-known among baseball fans for making two terrific catches during Game 3 of the 1969 World Series, helping the Mets win the game and the series.

“Tommie was more than a Mets legend and World Series champion,” Richards said. “He was a staple of East Elmhurst, which he called home for decades. Tommie Agee loved Queens and called it home well after his Mets playing career ended. Today, we ensure his legacy lives on in our borough.”

The 1969 Mets entered the season as huge underdogs, with the franchise having never finished a season with a winning record since its inception in 1962. Led by a dominant pitching staff anchored by Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman, the “Miracle Mets” finished the regular season with a 100-62 record before sweeping the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series. They then stunned the world once more by beating the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in the World Series in five games of the best-of-seven series.

“On behalf of the people of the city of New York, we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Tommie Agee, whose legacy lives on through his beloved family and the enduring impact he made in business, sports and his community,” Adams said. “Throughout his career and post retirement, he displayed a steadfast commitment to improving the game of baseball, mentoring young players and creating spaces where New Yorkers of all backgrounds could gather, bond and build lasting connections. His enormous contribution to the five boroughs cannot be overstated.”

Mayor Adams concluded his speech by announcing the proclamation that Aug. 26, 2022, would be “Tommie Lee Agee Day.”

Mayor Adams concluded his speech by announcing the proclamation that Aug. 26, 2022, would be “Tommie Lee Agee Day.” (Photo courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

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