A New York Post sportswriter once referred to Tom Seaver as “the last of the non-adulterous ballplayers.” A fascinating new book, “The Last Icon: Tom Seaver and His Times,” details how The Franchise was so respected that Mets teammates, notorious for playing around on the road, remained faithful to their wives out of homage to Seaver.
“I felt the 1969 Mets are the single most compelling sports story ever, and that Seaver’s public image at that time was as great as any athlete in history,” author Steven Travers wrote in an email. “Later he changed a bit and his image was not as shiny, but the ‘69 Mets were a very innocent story. Free agency, Watergate, steroids — the country lost its innocence after 1969, but in ‘69 the New York fans would run on the field in wide-eyed wonder, like the saved entering the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Many great New York athletes have followed Seaver, but they were often free-agent creations like Reggie Jackson, or tarnished by temptation like Lawrence Taylor. ...Derek Jeter is an icon and a hero, but I cannot help but note that Seaver made less than $80,000 in 1969, and if you look at the record was vastly underpaid all through the late 1970s, if you compare him with Jackson, Dave Concepcion, Pete Rose and others.
“Jeter, like so many, is paid so much more than his worth to society that folks have a hard time truly relating to him. The first years of Seaver’s career, the public identified with him and his wife Nancy in a personal way that few, if any, athletes have been known for in the years since.”
Travers, a former minor-league picther with the Cardinals and A’s, adopted Seaver’s drop-and-drive delivery.
“Being a USC graduate I liked the fact that Seaver, a suburban white kid, became great friends with Trojan baseball and Heisman winner Mike Garrett, an inner city black man, at USC,” Travers wrote. “This was what that school was all about, excellence rising to the occasion. Baseball players never lifted weights but Garrett helped devise a weight program that Tom made use of to great benefit, and I believe you can trace this to the beginning of weight training in baseball. Ultimately this led to steroids but Seaver never did that stuff.”
Ojeda: Mets in Terry good hands
SNY Mets postgame ace Bob Ojeda said he believes the team is in good hands with manager Terry Collins.
“I would have loved playing for him,” Ojeda told the Rumble.
Collins, who signed a two-year contract, would welcome an extension. Ojeda contends that the men who play for Collins won’t be looking at him as a lame duck if he doesn’t get one.
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism