If You Rooted For The Yankees, Could You Root For Tom Seaver?
Tom Seaver pitching two-hitter in the seventh inning as he makes a bid for his 15th win of the year. August 7, 1975 photo: Paul DeMaria (Seaver wound up with a 3 hit complete game 7-0 shutout over the Expos)
Hall of Famer and baseball great Tom Seaver died Monday, August 31 at age 75 and a piece of my childhood died along with him. The accolades, recollections and recounting of stats will continue to flow for the next few weeks.
But not everyone who saw Seaver play rooted for this consummate pro. Especially kids like me.
Being a Yankees fan in the late 1960s and early 1970s was not fun. A New Yorker has to choose teams. A real New York fan can’t root for both the Rangers and Islanders or the Jets and the Giants. You certainly cannot be a fan of both the Yankees and the Mets. So you make choices.
As a New York baseball obsessed kid who collected trading cards, I examined both teams carefully. I chose to be a fan of the on-his-last-legs Mickey Mantle led Yankees. Bad choice. Mantle retired immediately upon my declaration of loyalty.
The 70s Yankees teams featured players like Jake Gibbs, Jerry Kenney, Mike Kekich, Steve Kline, and Horace Clarke.
Arguments on the summer camp bus about who was better, the Yankees or Mets ended with the words Tom Seaver.
Rooting for the Yankees meant rooting against Tom Seaver. Comparing Tom Seaver to any Yankee player was a futile exercise in partisanship.
“The Yankees have Mel Stottlemyre.”
“We’ve got Tom Seaver.” Continue reading