Tom Seaver’s beautiful life brought so much joy to ours

One of the most esteemed works of sports literature was written 55 years ago by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author John McPhee. It was a profile of a Princeton student and basketball player named Bill Bradley. The piece that first appeared in the New Yorker magazine that later became a book was titled, “A Sense of Where You Are.”

Tom Seaver had A Sense of Who He Was.

Always.

The tributes for the legend who wore The Franchise tag as if it were a custom-tailored ensemble generally tend to the personal. That’s because, if you were a sports fan growing up in New York in the ‘60s, if you were a Mets fan (and maybe even if you were not), you knew Tom Seaver.

You knew he was not Everyman, but rather a shining example of how all things could be possible. We all knew No. 41. We knew him as the personification of promise the moment he set foot in Shea in 1967, and in 1969 we knew him as the man who carried a pocketful of miracles with him when he took the mound and when the Mets took the field.

We lost Seaver on Monday at age 75 to the terrible disease of Lewy body dementia coupled with complications from COVID-19. This was more than just another sad day in a summer and calendar year filled with heartache. This was a blow to the soul of our city. This leaves a hole that will not easily be repaired or filled.

I watched him from the stands at Shea, I covered him for The Post. I spent hours with him one day in Cincinnati in the summer of 1980 after he threw for the first time in 18 days when he was attempting to come back from tendinitis and a rotator cuff injury. At that time, he had 238 career victories and his future was very much in doubt.

“If it’s now, then I’ll invest the same kind of dedication into whatever I do after I retire and I’m sure I’ll find gratification in that,” Seaver told me in an otherwise empty Reds clubhouse. “It will give me more time to spend with my family and watch my daughters [Sarah, then 9, and Anne, then 5] grow up.

“If this is the end, then fine. I’ve had a beautiful career.”

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