When you think of the New York Mets, the first player you think of is Tom Seaver.
For a long time, Seaver was the only Mets Hall of Famer. He is the greatest player in Mets history. He’s one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball. On Wednesday night, we learned of Seaver’s tragic passing. Boy, did it hurt. While I was not alive to see him pitch, I studied Mets history as a kid and the 1969 team was one I always had an affinity for.
I would go to sports card and memorabilia shows in my teenage years to meet as many of the members of that team as I can and have them sign a big picture I had of the final out being caught in the 1969 World Series. I’ll always remember shaking when I had the chance to meet Seaver at one of those shows and had him sign a ball for me. There he was — Tom freaking Seaver. The heart and soul of the franchise I love. Losing Seaver is such a tough blow for me, older fans who watched him pitch and for the Mets franchise. On the latest episode of the “Amazin’ But True” podcast, me and Nelson Figueroa honored Seaver’s life and legacy. This was an emotional show for both us and our guests. We had the pleasure to hear from his Mets teammates Ed Kranepool, Art Shamsky and Ron Swoboda. Mets radio voice and his former TV broadcast partner Howie Rose also joined us. We spoke with The Post’s Mike Vaccaro, who talked about Seaver being his childhood hero. My father also joined us to talk about hearing the cheers of Shea Stadium from his window and his memories watching Seaver return to Shea and Citi Field with me.
I open up the podcast giving my tribute to Seaver and what he meant to me as a young fan. I knew the impact that he had on this franchise and what changed because of him. He was a staple of the 1969 Miracle Mets and the 1973 Mets that won the National League pennant. Figgie gets into just how dominant Seaver was, his ability to throw so many complete games and he talks about being on the 2008 Mets and seeing him for the final time in that last game at Shea.
Our first guest was Kranepool, the lifelong Met who played with Seaver from 1967-1977. Kranepool spoke about how much they will miss him, the presence he was on the mound and how he was a class act.
We’re then joined by Rose, the longtime Mets radio voice and Seaver’s TV broadcast teammate. Rose explains how he’s numb and had no idea this was coming, how Seaver made everyone around him better, cherishing working with him on TV and how much joy he gave him as a fan growing up.
Shamsky, another one of Seaver’s teammates from the 1969 Mets, then chats with us. Shamsky discusses Seaver being an icon in New York sports history, cherishing getting to see him in 2017 and how good a pitcher he was fielding for him and going up against him.
Swoboda then joins us to shine some light on how terrific Tom was. Swoboda spoke about Seaver conducting himself as a gentleman, the story of his reaction when he lost a perfect game against the Cubs and the most fascinating time spent with him in 2017 when they walked around his California property.
Vaccaro then drops by to share memories of his childhood hero. Vac said you only get one shot to have your first hero and he sure got it right. He talks about Seaver and comparisons to Jacob deGrom.
We wrap up the show talking to my dad. He lived in College Point as a kid and spoke about hearing the cheers from his window growing up. He talks about just how great a pitcher he was and memories meeting him with me and us seeing him get honored at Shea and Citi Field together and how special it was.
Catch up on all episodes of “Amazin’ But True,” a New York Mets podcast, by subscribing to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Follow Jake Brown on Twitter and Instagram @JakeBrownRadio and Nelson Figueroa @FiggieNY. The next episode of the show drops Monday.