The criminally underrated Josh Wilker dives into his baseball card collection to make sense of Tom Seaver’s passing and comes up with the 1975 Mets Team Card.
I’m glad, in the end, that I ended up with this card. It’s not like the Seaver cards I have, or think I have, where he’s either in the middle of his beautiful, powerful delivery or in a posed shot, glowering out at the viewer with the face of one of the sport’s most determined competitors. He’s not the star of the card. But he can be clearly seen, second row, third from right, and he’s smiling. He’s happy. This is the team that he came to define more than any player has ever defined any team. He’s together with them. A massive collection of players, it should be noted, far more than the number of players that would be on the active major league roster, as if the card’s other world-famous man, the one with the benevolently homely mug shown both in the inset and three figures to Seaver’s right, didn’t have the heart to dim anybody’s dreams of playing in the major leagues, and so for this moment there’s room for everybody, and this is OK with Tom Seaver, a pillar of winning and togetherness, and the seven-year-old holding this uneven card in his fingers got to bask in this togetherness that manifests with no other team more than this one, in the franchise for whom Tom Seaver earned one of his nicknames, The Franchise. As my friend Pete, a lifelong Mets fan, put it, when talking about Seaver’s death and more specifically about all the condolence calls he was fielding from friends about it: “It’s like a death in the extended family. And what are the Mets but one very big, very dysfunctional family?”
Source: Josh Wilker, Cardboard Gods