TOO MUCH, TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE

20 04 2021
Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver Dies at 75 - WSJ

SPEAKING IN THE LIGHT APRIL 21, 2021

This coming Summer, the New York Mets will unveil a brand-new statue at Citi Field, built in honor of the ballplayer the Metropolitans refer to as “The Franchise.” He is my all-time favorite baseball player, and his name is George Thomas Seaver. There is one problem of monumental size that any true Fan of the Orange and Blue cannot deny about this whole so-called honor and that is that it comes way too late. The greatest Pitcher to ever wear a Mets uniform passed away last August 31, 2020. Contrary to whatever claims that a certain NFL Quarterback wants to make, the one and only authentic “Tom Terrific” deserved to be alive to see this day. He should have been given the chance to experience the love and adulation from his devoted fans like me. It is much more than just a shame that the Mets organization waited far too long and way too late to do what they should have done years ago. There really is no excuse other than management was foolish in putting its priorities in the wrong ideals. I have no hesitation sharing that the Wilpon Family could have done something when the Mets left Shea Stadium and opened their new home, Citi Field. The Mets brass should be embarrassed in how they botched this opportunity up in every way possible.   

Tom Seaver was my childhood hero and I looked up to him because he was a man of excellence and integrity both on and off the field. I wanted to be #41 in just about every way. It is why I chose to wear his number every time there was a uniform available with that number upon it. Tom was a thinking man who taught me that my mental contribution played just as big a role as anything that I might be able to pull of physically. I also learned that Tom was not afraid of bragging about his wife and his daughters in the limelight.  I got the picture clearly from this pitcher that being a loyal family man was something I wanted to aspire to. I just wish that the Team that I have rooted for since 1967 took better care of its own.

I should know better by now. I am 61 years old and still want to believe that justice isn’t a fairy tale. But I have seen too many good men and women never given their due diligence for being loyal, honest and hard-working individuals. After giving the best years of their lives to performing their tasks above the call of duty, once the time on the corporate clock runs out, they are given some token gift of bland appreciation and sent off into the sunset, paving the way for the new kid in town. Our Country has forgotten how to honor its elderly and celebrate its history properly. Long gone are the days when the younger would listen to the stories of how its greatest generation got things done. The Nation’s heritage has been reduced to putting the spotlight of social media upon those who have been deemed newsworthy of its 15 minutes of fame. How can we learn if we have abandoned the value of being teachable?

After leading the Mets to 2 World Series and winning 3 Cy Young Awards, the team did the unthinkable when they traded the one, we thought was untouchable. Tom Seaver was unceremonially let go in 1977 for a quantity of ballplayers that truly lacked any star quality because its CEO was a crusty old cheap skate who misread the whole situation and we fans paid for that ignorance. All Tom wanted was to be treated with dignity and respect and M Donald Grant chose to use a Writer in the New York Post to drum up propaganda that backfired if he thought we would believe such nonsense. But the infamous Dick Young went one article too far when he attacked Tom’s wife Nancy in his daily diatribe. The next day, Tom Seaver was a Cincinnati Red and Shea Stadium became dubbed “Grant’s Tomb.”

In 1983, under new ownership, Tom Seaver came home where he belonged. Unfortunately, once again because those in the front office miscalculated the facts, after only one season, Tom was gone yet again. The Chicago White Sox plucked him away and we were forced to see our Tom win his 300th Game at Yankee Stadium instead of Shea. In 1986, while the Mets were on their way to winning their only other World Championship, Frank Cashen had a chance to bring Tom Seaver back in time to be part of the fanfare. He had already brought back Lee Mazzilli who was one of the few shining stars in the lean years of Flushing. Tom wanted to come home and then Met’s manager Davey Johnson vetoed that deal from taking place. What was Johnson’s issue? I claim it was Davey’s fear, pride and insecurity that allowed another chance at redemption pass by. Tom Seaver pitched his last game as a Boston Red Sox and as history would toss in its most ironic of twists, Seaver was in the losing dugout when he could have easily been in the right one.

The knock over the years is that the Mets don’t do a great job of acknowledging their history and taking care of their stars. The biggest slap in the face of Tom Seaver was when the Wilpons gave us Citi Field. Fred Wilpon, a Brooklyn Dodgers Fan, built the new home of the Mets as a shrine to Ebbets Field. There was a huge portion of the park dedicated to a Jackie Robinson tribute, but Jackie never played for the Mets. Tom Seaver came and noticed that there was not even a hint of the 1969 or 1973 Mets anywhere to be found and of course, a total shutout of appreciation for him.

A few years ago, the Mets learned that Lyme’s Disease had taken its toll and forced Tom to retire from public life. It was only then that the Mets began to do what they had failed to accomplish when it could have meant something. Why do people take so much for granted? Why do we allow to what is going without saying to be left unsaid? Why do we not go overboard in making sure our loved ones know that they genuinely are loved? Why is this Tom Seaver Statue being unveiled now when it could have blessed Tom Seaver when he was breathing? Why buy expensive flowers for a cemetery when they might mean more on the dinner table? I am so sorry Nancy, Sarah and Annie that your Husband and Dad got left at the altar when we his real Fans know that there would be no joy without him. I am grateful for how many of my life memories include Tom Seaver. What the Mets failed to do, I will. I keep #41 around me constantly because of the impact Tom had in making me who I am today and the fact that as a Christian, everything I do, I do For One! I do it for the Lord!

So, who needs words of affirmation, today? Who needs an act of service done for them, today? Who needs to receive a special gift, today? Who could use a healthy hug and kiss of affection, today? Who would appreciate you being with them, today? You can wait until it is too late. You do not have forever to get it right. You can miss the sunrise, even if the glare is right before your very eyes. But you do not have to and if you see a good deed left undone, do it. I will not allow appreciation to be left on the stove if the one I love is hungry tonight. Tom Seaver, we are your statues. Tom Seaver, we are your wins. And even though those with the influence struck out big time in saying this, we know that you know when I linger back in times to those summer days of yesteryear, you will always be there. And I do not need mortar and stone because God has constructed a monument of memories in my heart.                 


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