Time to Build the Seaver Statue
With the 2016 Hall of Fame class being announced yesterday, it’s hard to believe the Mets will have two Hall of Famers. Understandably and rightfully so, 2016 will be the year for the Mets to honor Mike Piazza. However, it’s high time the Mets also honor Tom Seaver.
Depending on your age, you identify the Mets with a particular player. Some will pick Piazza. Younger fans will pick David Wright. Many will pick any one of the players from the 1986 Mets. Part of this is a recency bias. Another part of this is the failure of the Mets organization to forever hold out Tom Seaver, The Franchise, as the Mets singular franchise player.
Go to other big league stadiums, particularly the new ones. The Yankees have Monument Park. In Monument Park, the Yankees have paid special tribute to five Yankees including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The Giants have a statue of Willie Mays. The Phillies have one for Mike Schmidt. The list goes on and on. The Mets? They only have a special honor for Jackie Robinson.
Walk around Citi Field. There’s no special designation for Seaver. Yes, his number is retired. His retired number also hangs on the same wall as Jackie Robinson. There needs to be a Tom Seaver statue. The main reason is all Mets fans need to know who he was. For some reason, Seaver isn’t spoken about in the historical context as he should. Part of the reason could be the team he represents.
This isn’t an issue of the Mets finances. I’m not mocking the Mets here for not having enough money to purchase a statue. The Mets had the money to build Citi Field. It’s an issue or priorities. They never prioritized honoring Seaver. I still don’t understand why.
Every Mets fan needs to see Seaver on their way into Citi Field. Kids should be asking their parents and grandparents about Seaver. They should hear stories like I did from my father. Stories about how he was nicknamed The Franchise because he turned the Mets around. They need to hear about “The Imperfect Game.” They need to hear stories about the Miracle Mets. They should hear about how Seaver used his legs so much while he was pitching he got dirt on his knee.
There’s no better place to tell these stories than at the ballpark. It’s where my father told me about them. I hope one day he’ll get to tell my son those stories too. I’d love for my son to see the statute and ask, “Who’s Tom Seaver?” I’ll just then sit back as my Dad tells him the same stories he told me.
This is what we’re missing with the Seaver statue. We’re missing the history not only of the Mets, but also baseball. Sure, I look forward to my Dad telling my son about how he grew up a Brooklyn Dodger fan, and Jackie Robinson was his favorite player because he ran pigeon-toed just like my Dad did. It’ll be awesome, but it’s also a problem. My son will ask the Jackie Robinson but not the Tom Seaver question on his way into the ballpark.
The Mets have been around for 54 years and have developed their own rich history. It’s time to properly honor it with a Seaver statute. Then maybe one day we can have a Piazza statute when I can regale my son and hopefully grandson in the future with stories like the trade bringing him to the Mets, him being the greatest hitting catcher ever, and the post 9/11 homerun. Sure, I’ll relate those stories anyway because they’re great stories. However, I want my son to ask me about them. A statue honoring the Mets Hall of Famers would go a long way in that regard.
It’s time to honor Tom Seaver. It’s time to build him his statue. It’s not just for him, but for all Mets fans. The ones that saw him play and the ones not yet born. The a Mets need to honor their history now and set it in bronze.