This book tells the complete, unvarnished story of the great Tom Seaver, that rarest of all American heroes, the New York Sports Icon. In a city that produces not mere mortals but sports gods, Seaver represented the last of a breed and he stayed at the top for twenty years. Here is Tom Terrific of the Amazin' Mets, worthy of a place alongside DiMaggio, Ruth, Mantle, and Namath in the pantheon of New York idols.
Steven gives an overview of the book:
The baseball capitol of the world
He was the “24-year old reincarnation of Christy Mathewson, Hobey Baker and Jack Armstrong,” according to sportswriter Ray Robinson. He was “so good blind people come out to hear him pitch,” said Reggie Jackson. He was, wrote legendary Los Angeles Times sports columnist Jim Murray, “too good to be true,” except that he was.
At the height of his fame he elicited media verbiage surpassing any previous sports star. He was the primary, dominant figure in a story generally accepted to be the greatest in athletic history, so impossible it is still viewed as much an act of God as an Earthly event. He was like a U.S. Senator who also happened to be the best pitcher in the world, a statue come to life.
He came to the toughest, most hardcore city in the world, where the greatest of the great set standards impossible to attain. He matched them, entering the pantheon reserved for a precious few that include Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig; Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle; Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays; Frank Gifford and Joe Namath. In a year in which American heroes bestrode Manhattan’s concrete canyons in ticker tape splendor, he engendered the greatest adoration.
He represented greatness and excellence during the waning days of innocence, before Watergate, free agency and steroids. In his prime he was the best pitcher in baseball, and arguably the best either of all time or in the post-World War II time span, depending upon how one analyzes the records and eras. He enjoyed several of the most spectacular single seasons in history and sustained a career built on consistent success over a long period. He transcends sports and New York City.
In a rough ‘n’ tumble town, a town of Irish Catholics, of rough hewn neighborhood Italians, of Brooklyn Jews and Harlem blacks, he was a Park Avenue, or to be precise, a Connecticut WASP, yet somehow he was also this fresh-faced Californian who remains the only Met player to be selected among that rarest of the New York pantheon; in many ways really, the last icon.