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The Amazin' Tom Seaver

In this Aug. 14, 1974 photo, New York

In this Aug. 14, 1974 photo, New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver throws to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter at Shea Stadium in New York. Seaver, the galvanizing leader of the Miracle Mets 1969 championship team and a pitcher who personified the rise of expansion teams during an era of radical change for baseball, has died.  Credit: AP/RAY STUBBLEBINE

The words cut deeply for all of us. In 2020, this year of a pandemic that won’t end soon enough, comes the death of Tom Seaver, the greatest Met, “The Franchise,” No. 41, who led the team from last place to winning the 1969 World Series.

Seaver left us from complications of dementia, Lyme disease, and COVID-19.

He was a member of a beloved team and now also one of more than 186,000 Americans claimed by a cruel and merciless virus.

We have wonderful memories of Tom Terrific. He was a gentleman, a calming presence, a powerful force of nature on the mound who sometimes couldn’t be dragged off it, the confident and cerebral pitcher who won 311 games for four major league teams.

But there really was only one team for Seaver: the Amazin’s, the Metropolitans, for whom he was the first real star. How and why he left will always be discussed with sadness. But he was the heart of the early, struggling Mets, and came to define the team’s character. Of course, triumphantly, he was the ace of 1969, a resilient year in New York sports for baseball, football and basketball.

It was only natural that he’d throw the last pitch at Shea Stadium to Mike Piazza, who himself became a New York icon and who would later join Seaver in the Hall of Fame.

Seaver withdrew from public life last year due to Lewy body dementia, a degenerative thief that steals memory, motor control and thinking similar to Alzheimer’s disease. It was a terrible reminder of life’s fragility, from which even a great athlete and a living legend is not immune.

Seaver should have had another season of sunny afternoons and starry nights, another round of playoffs, perhaps a pennant race, some October magic. Another chance for miracles, on the field or off.

The Mets have commissioned a statue of Tom Seaver to be placed outside Citi Field, where the address will be 41 Seaver Way. We see him hurling a 97-mph fastball, dropping and driving, young and strong, now and forever.

— The editorial board