Sarah Seaver, daughter of The Franchise, did it the Seaver Way at Thursday’s ceremony celebrating her father by renaming the street and address of Citi Field in his honor.
She was fast and efficient. She kept her word count to a minimum as the Mets christened 41 Seaver Way and made the official announcement that a statue of Seaver has been commissioned.
Sarah Seaver, who attended with her sister, Anne, and Seaver’s three grandsons, said her father often told her to “keep it simple, sweetheart,’’ and that’s what she did, brushing away a tear before she spent a few minutes talking about her father.
There were no mentions of Cy Young Awards, strikeouts, the near-perfect game. And only scant reference about the robbing of memories as her father battles dementia, which led to retirement from public life.
“’Dad loved — he loved playing in New York,’’ she said. “He loved playing for New Yorkers. He loved pitching. He loved the work, the work that he put into pitching. He still loves to work and he still loves to work hard. He works in his vineyard, he takes care of his animals. Many of you know he had three large, rowdy dogs. I don't know how many cats they have now at home.’’
Away from the podium, she said the event was bittersweet because her father could not attend.
“Of course it is,’’ she said, “but he may have been watching live. The Mets are great and will get footage to him of everything. He knows that we’re here, he got a picture of the family having dinner last night together and he’s thrilled. He and mom both.’’
Nancy Seaver remained with her husband at their home in Northern California's wine country, where Seaver fulfilled his post-baseball career dream by running a vineyard.
It was there that Mets COO Jeff Wilpon visited the family three summers ago to plan the street change and statue. Wilpon said the team is finalizing plans with a sculptor. “I would hope that it's a year, but it might be 18 months,’’ he said,
The statue will likely be placed outside Citi Field, Wilpon said, “so it's more accessible to the public.’’
Seaver’s former teammate Cleon Jones attended the ceremony along with Ron Swoboda, Jerry Koosman and Bud Harrelson, who is battling Alzheimer’s. The players will be honored Saturday in a 50th reunion of the world champions.
“It's an honor for the Seaver family and it's also an honor for me and my family to be part of it,’’ Jones said. “Even though we're celebrating 50 years, it’s even more glorious and satisfying to me to have Tom have Seaver Way. He deserved it, a team leader, a baseball man. He meant so much to baseball.’’
Seaver won three Cy Young Awards — all with the Mets — and compiled a 20-year record of 311-205 with 3,640 strikeouts. He was sent to the Reds in a controversial trade in 1977, then returned to the Mets for the 1983 season before a stop with the White Sox and, in 1986, was in the Red Sox dugout when the Mets defeated Boston in the World Series.
Previously, Seaver's name had been attached to an entranceway at Citi Field and his uniform number 41 had been retired along with those of Casey Stengel (37), Gil Hodges (14) and Mike Piazza (31).