Although the outlook for the 2019 rendition of the reality show known as the New York Mets looks very bleak at the moment, there should be collective reason for the fan base to smile this weekend. The time has come for the team to celebrate the glory of the 1969 Mets and their miraculous victory in the World Series over the Baltimore Orioles. The festivities started early, on Thursday, when the Mets held a ceremony outside of Citi Field to commemorate the renaming of a street. The stretch of what was once 126th street between Roosevelt Avenue and Northern Boulevard is now known as Seaver Way. To add the cherry on top, Citi Field’s address is now 41 Seaver Way.
Through my job as Sports Director of 89.5 FM WSOU, I was granted the opportunity to cover the event as a member of the media. After making the trek to Queens, I found myself just to the left of the Bullpen Gate entrance to Citi Field. Here there was a blocked off area for friends and special guests of those helping to honor Tom Seaver. Scattered around the blocked off area were dedicated fans, autograph hounds, and fellow members of the media. The event began with Howie Rose greeting the crowd and detailing the career that Seaver had with the Mets.
Of course, one of Seaver’s most dominant seasons came in 1969, the year that the Mets are focusing on this weekend. That year, Seaver led the National League in Wins with 25, held an era of 2.21, struck out 208 batters, was selected to the All-Star team, finished second in MVP voting only to Willy McCovey, and won the Cy Young Award. It would be easy to say that just based on the stats Seaver carried the team to victory, but according to some of his teammates, he was a force inside the clubhouse as well.
Cleon Jones was one of the teammates that was in attendance on Thursday. Jones was persistent on the fact that Seaver truly was a professional’s professional. “He was the guy that stayed after games to tweak things” Jones told the media that huddled around him.
This constant need and self-expectancy of greatness from Seaver undoubtedly contributed to the longevity of his career. He was a Cy Young candidate, All-Star, and MVP candidate in three separate decades, which is a testament to how his dominance stretched across many years.
Another common theme found amongst attendees, whether it be fans or Rose, was that they had watched Seaver as a kid. For many, it is the feeling of a childhood idol of theirs final getting the recognition that he deserves. Seaver received that, and more at his ceremony. The most joyous news of the entire ceremony was when COO Jeff Wilpon announced that the Mets would also erect a statue of Seaver sometime in the near future.
Overall, the ceremony was well-organized and put together nicely. The same can’t be said of the product that the Mets run out on the field every night, but this weekend will at least be a bit of an escape from that with celebration of the 1969 team.