The greatest player in the history of the New York Mets turns 74 years-old today and all of us at Metsmerized Online want to wish the legendary Tom Seaver a very happy birthday.
Winner of three Cy Young Awards, 12 All Star selections, Rookie of the Year and a unanimous first-ballot Hall of Famer, Tom Terrific put the New York Mets on the map and was instrumental in bringing the franchise their first World Series Championship in 1969.
The greatest right-handed pitcher of his time, Seaver still holds over two dozen career records with the Mets including 198 Wins, 2,541 Strikeouts, 171 Complete Games, and spectacular 2.57 ERA.
In his illustrious career, Seaver compiled a remarkable 106.3 bWAR and posted 12 seasons with a 5.0 WAR or higher including 1985 when he was 40 years old. It’s no wonder how he acquired one of the greatest nicknames in baseball – The Franchise.
Despite everything that Tom Seaver has meant to the New York Mets, it saddens me that we still don’t have a statue or monument erected in his honor at Citi Field.
When asked if he would like to have a statue to honor him in Flushing, Seaver said in a 2014 interview on WFAN:
“I understand that I’m a part of the history of the game of baseball, but it is what it is. The wonderful things are the memories that I have about the game, and I loved it.”
“I’m not dead yet,” Seaver continued. “So I’d rather it be Gil Hodges. He’s the most important person in the franchise.”
Tom’s wife wasn’t as humble two years later, in an interview with the Daily News in 2016. “The absence of a statue at the stadium is ridiculous,” said Nancy Seaver.
“They should have a statue for all those numbers they have retired on their wall — Seaver, Gil Hodges, Mike Piazza… I’m embarrassed for the Mets. I really am.”
I can’t say that I blame her, especially when you look at all the other ballparks in the NL East alone that celebrate their history with multiple majestic statues for fans to enjoy. Here are just a few:
Bobby Cox at Sun Trust Park, Atlanta
Phil Niekro at Sun Trust Park, Atlanta
Mike Schmidt at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
Steve Carlton at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
Walter Johnson at Nationals Park, Washington DC
Frank Howard at Nationals Park, Washington DC
Anyhow, you get the picture.
It would be so amazing to see a beautiful statue of Tom Seaver firing a fastball, or Casey Stengel in his rumpled Mets uniform with outstretched arms, or Gil Hodges and that quiet look of his holding a lineup card. And what about that iconic post 9/11 swing of the bat by Mike Piazza?
I know that I pick on the Mets owners a lot – maybe too much. But I truly believe that in this case the criticism is extremely warranted. We need to honor Tom Seaver while he is still alive to see it. The Wilpons need to make this happen.