By Jay Horwitz
Today is a day of reflection for me. It would have been Tom Seaver’s 76th birthday.
I still remember, as if it were yesterday, the call I got a little over two months ago from Tom’s daughter, Sarah. “Don’t tell me,” I said to her. She replied that her dad had passed.
No one will ever forget 1969, his three Cy Young awards, his 311 victories, or his nearly unanimous Hall of Fame selection.
For me, I will remember Tom Seaver, my friend, and his great sense of humor. He cared about people and was a big hit with everyone in the office.
I remember the first time I met Tom in the spring of 1983. I wrote about this previously, the time he poured the hose from the whirlpool down my suit pants. Talk about a unique first impression.
I remember when we played in a an exhibition game with our farm team in Norfolk and he joked, “Jay, let’s leave early and go to the beach until the bus leaves.”
I remember his time as a Mets announcer when I used to bring his game notes to the booth at Shea Stadium. He used to rip them up in front of me laughing because he said he couldn’t understand my awful handwriting.
I remember how he cried in March, 2016 when I told him my long time member of the Mets public relations staff, Shannon Forde, had died from cancer. On all of his visits to Shea Stadium and Citi Field, Tom would always spend time in Shannon’s office just talking.
I remember how much fun we had when Jeff Wilpon took Howie Rose and myself out to California to see Tom and Nancy in their vineyards. We had lunch and spent an entire day walking the fields with Tom and his dogs.
I remember watching Tom and David Wright joking with each other in the dugout at Citi Field before Tom threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the 2013 MLB All-Star Game.
I remember the phone calls we had until he got sick. He would begin each call with, “How’s my friend, ‘Horrible Horwitz’”?
Tom touched everyone in Mets’ land. From the grounds crew, to the ticket department, to every department in the organization. He was never too busy to say hello or give someone a hand shake.
I reflected a lot lately about Tom during this year’s Cy Young race. After winning two Cy Young awards, and finishing third this year, Jacob deGrom found his name being associated with Tom even more. Who knows, one day Jacob might join “The Franchise” in the Hall of Fame?
Jacob knew the essence of Tom Seaver. After his passing, Jacob, who never met Tom, said he was just proud to have his name in the same sentence.
I would have enjoyed watching those two Mets greats talk about the art of pitching.
So today, I remember and reflect on my friend, Tom. Happy birthday, friend.