The New York Mets unveil a statue of Tom Seaver...

The New York Mets unveil a statue of Tom Seaver outside of Citi Field prior to the start of their home opener on April 15, 2022. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

What is the measure of a man? In the case of Tom Seaver, that’s now an easy question to answer: It is 10 feet high and 13½ feet long.

Those are the dimensions of the statue honoring “The Franchise” that the Mets finally unveiled on Friday outside Citi Field in a ceremony that was emotional, tearful, funny, raucous and, at all times, showed the true nature of New Yorkers and Mets fans.

Who boos at a statue unveiling? Mets fans, when owner Steve Cohen mentioned the previous owners, the Wilpon and Katz families.

Who yells for a politician to wrap up his speech? Mets fans, when Queens borough president Donovan Richards Jr. orated while the statue sat patiently waiting, covered by a blue cloth.

Who yells “We love you, Nancy!” and cheers “Nan-cy Sea-ver!” after the Mets icon’s widow got choked up when she pointed to the statue and said through tears: “Hello, Tom. It’s so nice to have you here where you belong”?

Mets fans.

Thousands of whom lined up outside the main entrance to Citi Field on a sunny morning before the home opener against Arizona to get their first look at a statue that was first commissioned in March 2019 under the previous owners but was delayed because of the pandemic.

A day to honor two sports legends, with the unveiling of a statue of Mets great Tom Seaver outside Citi Field and the temporary renaming of the 42nd Street and Broadway intersection in Manhattan to “Jackie Robinson Way," in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Brooklyn Dodgers icon breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Steve Langford reports.  Credit: Kendall Rodriguez; Craig Ruttle; Photo credit: AP photos

The 3,200-pound work of art finally was unveiled after a 35-minute ceremony that featured speeches by master of ceremonies Howie Rose, Cohen, Richards, Mike Piazza and, finally and most poignantly, Nancy Seaver and her daughters Sarah and Anne.

“Goodness knows,” Rose finally said, “you’ve waited long enough for this,” and he probably meant in the years since Seaver retired in 1987, not the length of the ceremony.

“Take it off!” a bunch of Mets fans yelled, meaning the blue cloth. Finally, at 11:10 a.m., they did.

“Now ‘The Franchise’ has his rightful place,” Rose had said. “Welcome home, Tom.”

Seaver died on Aug. 31, 2020, at the age of 75.

The two-times-life-sized statue, designed and built by North Carolina-based sculptor William Behrends, shows Seaver in his iconic drop-and-drive pose, ready to throw a pitch that no doubt will lead to swings and misses for all eternity.

Cohen, who was cheered wildly as he took the stage in a suit, tie and Mets cap, later told a small group of reporters: “It’s fantastic. How real it looks. It’s so special. Such an incredible day for the family and an incredible day for everybody, for Mets fans. And long overdue.”

Asked about the fans and their typically New York reactions to the goings-on, Cohen said: “That’s Mets fans. They’re all in. They made the ceremony extra special . . . Tom Seaver, I think Mike [Piazza] said it, he’s royalty. I’ve always said, it’s important to celebrate our history. I’m glad we did it and it’s something that I think was important to do.”

Cohen and Piazza got the loudest cheers, but only until Nancy Seaver took the stage. She came into the ceremony area in a wheelchair but walked to the stage with her daughters just as the wind outside Citi Field started to pick up.

“Does anybody have any hairspray?” she deadpanned.

After getting through her prepared remarks through tears, Seaver — laughing now — said, “I think I need to go sit down now. So if you’ll excuse me, I need to leave. Bless you all.”

The Mets also were represented by team president Sandy Alderson and former players Keith Hernandez, John Franco, Tim Teufel and Mookie Wilson, among others.

Current star Jacob deGrom, who is on the injured list, rejoined the team after missing the opening road trip and came out and sat with the dignitaries to take in the ceremony.

Will there be a second statue outside Citi Field someday? Hernandez said no.

“There’s only one Tom,” he said. “There should be one statue.”

Maybe that’s the true measure of Tom Seaver after all.

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