There have been many reflections in the past 15 hours about the life of Tom Seaver and how he molded many a Met fan during their formative years.
I was not so lucky.
By the time, I started watching baseball full time, Seaver was a Cincinnati Red and he was a shell of his former self in 1983 when he returned to Shea.
So my memories of the Franchise are more archival, rather than living it, like I did with say, Doc Gooden or Keith Hernandez.
That said, I was there in 1988 when the Mets retired Seaver’s number, all the way up in left field in the upper deck and of course, over the past 15 years, I experienced Tom Terrific as a member of the media.
However, one story really sticks out for me and that was in 2008, when the Mets were closing Shea Stadium. A few hours after the final pitch and then ceremony, members of the media and guest that day were allowed on the field. We were able to walk around one last time. (The Yankees did the same a week before.)
It was during that time, about two hours after the game, Seaver emerged from the tunnel and walked out to his office one last time.
Remember that day was a reunion of sorts as Mets from the past 46 years were invited back and they enjoyed a full spread and open bar that day. So let’s just say Seaver was celebrating.
When he walked out to the mound, he tried to kick up some dirt to take a memento. Unfortunately his loafers were not good enough to get some packed dirt, so then he colorfully yelled to his with Nancy, that he needed her heel.
Eventually with a little help, Seaver was able to get his cup of dirt and toasted those of us around him for one last goodbye to the place he called home for so many years.
And that’s how Tom Seaver closed his office back in 2008.
Photos: Dave Saffran/NYSD