Stats frame Tom Seaver as arguably the best pitcher of his generation: 311 wins and 3,640 strikeouts in a career that spanned from 1967 to 1986.
His Major League return had even been penciled in: June 20, at home against the Phillies, just two weeks … And the idea that either he isn't, or doesn't know what's going on, I just don't think that was fair for a guy like him.
Seaver, then living in Greenwich, was promoting a roaming exhibit of baseball art at the New York Public Library. Such words when he was in his early 40s make Seaver’s death to complications of dementia and COVID-19 this week at 75 the cruelest of curves. But by that I mean he was enthusiastic about everything that he did. I wasn't interested in his record. You could count ballplayers like him on one mitt.
He liked all of that stuff. I …
“I’m interested in truth.”. He fulfilled his baseball career exactly as he wanted to. I said, ‘I don't give a s*** what anybody says. He knew that I understood pitching. Describing Tom’s pitching, you wrote that discipline and perfection mattered to him. I found notes and a tape recording (and eventually something to play it on) and discovered it was fine. When the exhibit was at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Seaver stopped in while a guide was telling a group about the colors Andy Warhol selected for his screenprint titled “Tom Seaver.”. So a major part of my life died with Tom Seaver Sunday night. I would have been the first one to put it in. On one level, after he had dementia, I almost didn't want to see him or talk to him. John Breunig is editorial page editor of the Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time. Then, when he met me [in 1971], and we played basketball, he realized that we were both on the same wavelength as guys.
Tom told me how hard it was when he was young and didn't have good stuff when he was in high school, to get bombed in the first inning and have to go out and start the second inning. It is a total memoir.
I wanted to know the person I knew. It was Seaver who continued the conversation. Below is the June 2020 Next Avenue story about him.). People will say, 'Well you left out the bad stuff about Tom.'
I could feel myself turning red at the notion they heard her. After an exchange about his wife Nancy’s art preferences, about wine and about Fehr’s comments that romantic notions about baseball have no place in negotiations, I closed my notebook. Then she wheeled around to ask me a question. It’s a confusing and unnerving time in our world. For those who recognize baseball as art, Tom Seaver’s legend will only grow.
You quoted Tom as saying, 'When I tried to perfect everything, I perfected nothing.” That almost sounds like good writing advice.
That could send Tom Seaver and 300 on a collision course ending in, of all places, New York. In March 2019, the Seaver family announced that Tom Seaver had dementia and would cease making public appearances. That's it. You don’t have to like baseball, only great prose. My childhood friend, and pitcher on the high school baseball team, was obsessed with Seaver. As other journalists lobbed questions during our tour, I waited for the final at-bat to grab Seaver one-on-one. I tried to reach him before I knew he had dementia and I tried to reach him after and I got no response. When he first retired, he was frustrated with all of the bull**** jobs he was doing: signing autographs for money, being an announcer on TV, which he was never really that good at or liked. The 79-year-old’s two acclaimed baseball memoirs — A False Spring, about his flame-out as a Milwaukee Braves pitching prodigy, and A Nice Tuesday, about his return to the pitcher’s mound at age 56 — are defined by an eloquent, brutal honesty. Vincent happened to live in Greenwich and Fehr just over the state line in Rye Brook. “One of the things I used to do was go to museums on the road,” he said. We didn’t know one another and she grabbed us seats next to Halberstam and Seaver during the luncheon that preceded a tour. We lived off our credit card. Last month, Jordan talked from his Abbeville, S.C., home about his friendship with the baseball legend he has known as a man. Seaver seemed to smile.
He tossed a promotional baseball in the air, reflected on his personal memories in ballparks and said the show “made me feel better about America” (perhaps it’s time for a revival). Pete Croatto: Why do you think Tom gravitated to you all those years ago? Our papers also assigned an arts critic to review the show. “Did you see the Basil King over here?” he asked, and brought me to an oil painting of a southpaw (which is now listed as “From the Collection of Tom Seaver”). Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver at a June 1991 charity softball game he hosted to benefit the Greenwich Adult Day Care Center in June 1991. "I didn't defer to him as 'Tom Seaver, the pitcher, the big deal,' you know?". Period. The Reds swept the Phils in three games.
He wasn’t just a pitcher, he was one of the game’s masters. Halberstam had just published his first baseball book, “Summer of ’49.”. Except I couldn’t hear. I didn't defer to him as 'Tom Seaver, the pitcher, the big deal,' you know? We got in some diamond chatter as well, but Seaver invited a conversation about brush strokes as easily as an exchange about the art of the brushback. Part of the lure for me that day wasn’t just talking to Seaver, or the artwork, or taking the batter’s box (OK, it was largely that), but getting to meet Seaver’s co-host, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Halberstam. My colleague, who admitted knowing little of America’s Pastime, kept interrupting them. And then he was going to fulfill his wine thing the way he wanted to do it.
What I remember was the way Tom Seaver treated…
Our special series, Vitality Arts, shows the powerful effect that participating in the arts can have on our minds, bodies and souls. I also interviewed him when he hosted charity softball games to benefit the Greenwich Adult Day Care Center, and admired his perspective on respecting seniors: “Senior citizens are among the most overlooked people in society.”. Halberstam obviously liked the piece as well, as he used it as the cover of subsequent printings of his book. It was his favorite player. I wanted you to get as close as you could to knowing Tom Seaver as a person without having met him. After two days to rest, he’d take the mound for his first game in nine months. The world knows what his record is. We never talked about that. The White Sox play the Yankees there, Aug. 2, 3, 4 and 5. This interview has been edited for clarity and space. One person said, 'You didn't include how much he meant to The Mets when they won the first World Series.' As I got older, he learned from me. I have no idea. Everything about him, even his flaws were his boyishness. His laudable goal was to draw children into the library. We really were like Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid: Two opposites who were really attracted to each other, because the flip side of both of our coins fascinated the other guy. Secondly, he knew I had been a pitcher, and a serious one. I didn't want to know him as that person. I felt so bad that he did not have the kind of retirement that he wanted. But I hardly recall the series. He always makes time for us.” Seaver lived in Greenwich, Ct., 45 minutes from Shea Stadium and a million miles away from where I grew up in Brooklyn, rooting for the Mets and Tom Terrific. Stats frame Tom Seaver as arguably the best pitcher of his generation: 311 wins and 3,640 strikeouts in a career that spanned from 1967 to 1986. I'm a writer.’ I sit at the typewriter from 8 to 12, to 1, whatever.
Tom was always boyish. He got closer. That’s always the way he was. She reviewed the show in a way I never could, but kept talking during lunch while I was trying to tune into the exchange between the hosts. He was the same guy I met at seventy years old that I met when he was twenty-seven. As Seaver walked through the exhibit, he pointed to Harvey Dinnerstein’s 1974 oil, “The Wide Swing,” which depicts Joe DiMaggio at the plate. When I was thirty, that was stuck in my mind. I always think I'm so lucky that I'm still doing what I love to do, and I'm doing it at a certain level. Nothing. That little boy who was filled with wonder, that influential teen who watched and marveled, the young man who got a chance to interview his idol and that aging sportswriter who received word that Tom Terrific, the Franchise, the best there ever was, was gone.
When I was forty, it was all over. When asked for a reason, he and Halberstam replied in unison that it was because Seaver never had to pitch to the Yankee Clipper. I don't care if World War Three is happening; I'm still writing. No two families look and function quite the same, including their approach to elder care. Two years before Seaver was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, he hosted one of my most surreal assignments. Looking at the way he lived his life, the way he approached pitching. He didn’t stretch his boundaries or his limits.
And with that news, so went a major part of my life, a life that somehow always included … That’s it. When I was forty-four and Susie [Jordan’s wife] and I were living in Fort Lauderdale and I lost a book contract and we had no money, we were [down on our luck]. But I think Tom was really close to the person he was. He was out of uniform, and context. I criticized Tom a lot of times in the book for flaws, like being so egocentric he never asking how you were doing, because he was a famous athlete who was used to answering questions. So it was pro-forma. When I was thirty, yes, I learned from him. But I knew I had to call him. Club, and Good Housekeeping. ’s interviews, essays, and features have appeared in an array of publications, including The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Publishers Weekly, the A.V. My early stories for Sports Illustrated were all about pitching. Advice and insights on starting a business. I wrote him a letter, I emailed, I called...nothing.
Tom Terrific agreed to pitch to 10 lucky fans, so everyone put their name in a hat. There was no bad stuff.
TOM SEAVER NOT SO "TERRIFIC" TOWARD ME. Every day, 8 o'clock in the morning, I went to the typewriter. Seaver pulled on a Mets uniform for the first time since 1983 on Monday, June 8, in Chicago, pitching batting practice before the opener of a three-game series.
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