My first baseball glove was a a Rawlings Tom Seaver model. If memory serves, the first book I ever bought was an biography by the same Tom Seaver. In fact, I’m a Mets fan because of Tom Seaver. His name was magic when I was in elementary school–worthy of more than its weight. A little less than a decade ago, when we wound up in Fresno during a trip out west, my first thought was how that was Tom Seaver’s home town.
You get the idea.
Today, Tom Seaver’s family announced that because of his dementia, Tom Seaver was removing himself from public life. It could’ve been a big year, being the 50th anniversary of the Miracle Mets–the team Seaver led to an unlikely World Championship.
Dementia is one of the things that happens to 74-year-old men, and Seaver’s life has been nothing if not blessed. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, one of the greatest pitchers ever to grace the mound in Major League Baseball. Even though he spent about half his career away from the Mets, he’s still referred to as The Franchise. and his trade in 1977 is still known as the Midnight Massacre.
I knew this was coming–word has gotten out that Seaver’s health was slipping. Former teammate Art Shamsky commented on Seaver’s health a week or so ago.
And yet, it’s still a shock.
My first hero is failing.
He’s not the first. Just earlier this week, Luke Perry, heartthrob to a generation of women died from a stroke this week. He was 52 years old–very young for a stroke victim.
It’s sad when you outlive your heroes.
It’s even sadder when you don’t.