The Tom Seaver statue is 10 feet tall. Just like Seaver.

A statue of Tom Seaver finally made its debut at Citi Field on Friday, hours before the Mets’ 2022 home opener and years after it was bu...

A statue of Tom Seaver finally made its debut at Citi Field on Friday, hours before the Mets’ 2022 home opener and years after it was built, arguably.

The statue depicts Seaver – who more than 50 years ago transformed the Mets from a laughing stock into world champions – in his famous drop-and-drive delivery to home plate. It was such a forceful throwing motion that his back knee scraped the mound at times, producing stains on his uniform that spoke of another determined performance by the greatest player in Mets history.

The statue, designed by sculptor William Behrends, is made of bronze and stainless steel. He is 10 feet tall, weighs 3,200 pounds and at first glance Friday was almost surprising to see. It will now welcome supporters arriving at the stadium’s main entrance, some of whom were old enough to see Seaver’s pitch and many of whom were not. And at least a few of both groups can look at the statue with appreciation and wonder if all of this could have been done quite a while ago, when Seaver was still alive and in relatively good health.

That question didn’t really seem to matter during Friday’s late-morning ceremony, which drew a sizable outpouring of energetic Mets fans, glad the sun was shining, glad they were about to throw their first shot. Glad, too, that the Mets had started 5-2 this season. They then made it 6-2 with a beating from arizona.

They cheered when the wounded Jacob of Grompossibly the best Mets pitcher since Seaver, showed up wearing baseball pants and a Mets sweatshirt and sat front row to figure it all out. cheered when Mike Piazza spoke and more or less cheered when Steven Cohen, who took over as owner of the Mets a year and a half ago, rose to speak.

And when the sometimes wheelchair-bound Nancy Seaver went endearingly off-screen talking about her late husband and ending with a “Bless you all,” the crowd chanted her name. It was that kind of ceremony.

Seaver’s statue will no doubt become a pre-game hangout for fans, a role, until now, that has more or less fallen to former Home Run Apple. This should make for a nice update.

Indeed, over the past few decades, many teams have erected statues outside their stadiums to honor their famous players (and even some beloved broadcasters). But the Mets’ former owners, the Wilpons, chose not to, even though greeting Seaver that way seemed like an easy enough thing to do.

Things changed in June 2019, when the Wilpons announced that a statue of Seaver was being commissioned and Citi Field’s address was being changed to 41 Seaver Way. A few months prior, Seaver’s family had revealed that he suffered from dementia and was retiring from public life. He died in late August 2020, his death attributed to both coronavirus and dementia, and it was hard to ignore that the statue was not yet complete.

It was supposed to be unveiled last summer, but the pandemic delayed things. And it was delayed again when the start of the 2022 season was pushed back by the recent labor stalemate.

That the ceremony ended up taking place on April 15 — Jackie Robinson Day, when baseball annually honors Robinson’s first major league game – was a nice touch, as serendipitous as it might have been. As it stands, Seaver’s statue is close to the Citi Field rotunda, which is graced with a large tribute to Robinson. So the Queens hero, No. 41, will be within earshot of the Brooklyn hero, who wore the famous No. 42.

Dishes will also retire #17 soon worn by Keith Hernandez at a ceremony scheduled for this summer. He was the leader of the Mets championship team in 1986 and, for some, the best player the Mets have had since Seaver. As with the Seaver statue, it arguably took too long to honor Hernandez. As with the Seaver statue, the decision to remove No. 17 from circulation was actually made by the Wilpons, as was the decision remove #36 worn by Jerry KoosmanSeaver’s left-handed sidekick last August.

In each of these cases, better late than not at all. If the Wilpons could start over, they might have acted faster. But that’s of course not how things work. Instead, you make amends when you can and keep showing up.

That’s what Fred Wilpon, now 85, did on Friday. The former main team owner sat in the second row during the unveiling of the statue and lingered afterwards. When asked if he wished the statue could have been unveiled years ago, he pondered the question and replied, “I’m just glad it’s done now. It was a beautiful ceremony.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: The Tom Seaver statue is 10 feet tall. Just like Seaver.
The Tom Seaver statue is 10 feet tall. Just like Seaver.
Newsrust - US Top News
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