The Tom Seaver documentary titled “Seaver” is a must-watch for New York Mets fans and anyone else who appreciates the story of an amazing athlete.
For New York Mets fans, no name inspires more reverence or respect than Tom Seaver. From his debut in 1967 to the unthinkable “midnight massacre” trade of 1977 to his reunion with the Mets in 1983, Seaver was the embodiment of greatness and poise in a Mets uniform.
He has received just about every accolade under the sun: number 41 retired by the Mets in 1988, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992, and finishing his career with the sixth most strikeouts in major league history, to name a few. Strangely though, Seaver’s baseball journey has never been the subject of a proper documentary, until now.
In October 2019, without much promotion, Fox premiered a one-hour documentary about “the Franchise,” titled simply, “Seaver.” Like many Mets fans, I missed it when it first aired. Luckily, MLB Network recently re-aired this documentary. I was so happy to finally watch this wonderful retrospective on one of baseball’s greatest pitchers.
“Seaver” weaves back and forth between narration about Seaver’s storied baseball career and charming interviews with the man himself at his beloved vineyard in Calistoga, California. The story begins by chronicling Seaver’s childhood as an initially undersized athlete before a well-timed growth spurt allowed him to truly excel on the baseball diamond.
It then describes how Seaver initially attended a city college before being recruited by the University of Southern California, where he quickly began to turn scouts’ heads. Meanwhile, the Mets were wading through their tough first few seasons in New York.
The stories of Seaver and the Mets finally intersected on April 3, 1966, when the Amazins won the draft rights to the powerful righthander. From there, “Seaver” recounts his dominance from day one in Queens, leading to a Rookie of the Year award in 1967 and a Cy Young award and World Championship with the Miracle Mets of 1969.
Of course, any retrospective involving the orange and blue team in New York has to contain some kind of heartbreak. Just as Mets fans are reliving the glory days of Seaver’s prime in their heads, the narrative of “Seaver” shifts to perhaps the most heartbreaking moment in Mets history: June 15, 1977, aka the night when chairman M. Donald Grant traded Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds.
Though this trade occurred many years before I was born, it was still painful for me to see retold while watching “Seaver.” It reminded me that absolutely nothing in sports is permanent, no matter how beloved an athlete may be in his home city.
It also inspired me to cling a little tighter to my Jacob deGrom shirts, just in case his career in New York is not as long as I would like.
As “Seaver” progresses, it assures the audience that while Seaver may have been the golden boy in New York for many years, he was always focused on the art of pitching and completely committed to winning. The documentary also includes several heartwarming clips of Seaver relaxing at his vineyard and reminiscing with his wife Nancy, to whom he has been married since 1966.
Several times, Seaver directly addresses his love for winemaking, describing similarities between striving for greatness on a baseball field and striving to create great wine. It is clear that no matter what he has set his mind to over the years, Seaver always fully devotes himself to his craft.
Sadly, as the documentary details in its final minutes, Seaver was diagnosed with dementia in 2019 and subsequently retired from public life. Though he may never again hear the roar of 50,000 Mets fans showering him with praise and adulation, he comes across in “Seaver” as a man thoroughly aware of his accomplishments and appreciative of everything baseball has given him.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
From beginning to end, “Seaver” treats its subject with respect and grace. It will remind Mets fans why they initially admired “the Franchise,” and why he is still such a revered figure in New York sports. In some ways, watching “Seaver” is a comforting reminder that no matter how many players come and go in Queens, we will always have “Tom Terrific” as a shining beacon of Mets greatness.