There's two kinds of people in this world, Elvis people and Beatles people. Now Beatles people can like Elvis. And Elvis people can like the Beatles. But nobody likes them both equally. Somewhere you have to make a choice... - Mia Pulp Fiction
I ask you this. When it comes to Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan, do you need to make a choice? I mean, they were both Miracle Mets in 1969. They both pitched no hitters (sure, Ryan has him by 6). They were both victims of poorly timed trades by the New York Mets and both were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by a ninety-eight percentile. (Seaver technically has Ryan by .05 of a percent, giving him the honor of being elected to the Hall with the highest percentage ever. But seriously, who's counting?)
If you haven't picked up on it, I'm a big Tom Seaver fan. My dad on the other hand lives and dies with Nolan Ryan and since I was a little kid, considered trashing Seaver a personal hobby. Now, let's face it. Seaver doesn't have a reputation for being a nice guy. I had two friends who worked with the Mets and cringed at the sound of his name and frankly, most of his interviews as a player come off as pompous. However, I didn't care. Seaver was a brilliant pitcher and is still (unfortunately) the only player to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Met. (Gary Carter went in a a defunct Expo? Really?) He also has an exceptional respect for the game and its history, something that many players of recent could use to take a lesson in. Anyway, Seaver has a card carrying right to be a jerk if he wants to. Like my dad always says, "Tom Seaver is the best pitcher in Baseball. Ask him."
Or am I just trying to talk myself out of any possibility of disappointment?
If you read my blog on a regular basis, you may be picking up on the fact that I don't do "well" when I meet childhood heros. What if Seaver was a jerk? Would I be ok with it? I had talked myself into it being ok. Or did I?
When I was an intern at the Hall in 2002, working the induction ceremony, Seaver was there to present the Ford Frick to Harry Kalas. My boss threw me infront of Seaver who was reviewing his notes and I just froze. A cold day in hell, dude!
A. He's Tom freakin Seaver.
B. Do you think I'm going to interrupt that perfectionist as he's rehearsing his speech?
C. God forbid, what if my dad was right?!
Well, a year later, Seaver was signing at a convention. My dad and I dragged ourselves out at some ungodly hour. I clutched my prized Number 41 Cooperstown throw back as my dad salavated (and it wasn't because he just knocked off an Auntie Anne's Pretzel). He was just waiting to prove his point to me that Seaver was an idiot.
Fast forward three blue slushies later, I put my jersey infront of Seaver and handed him my Mets' Blue sharpee. I don't know. Maybe it was because I was wearing my intern shirt? Maybe it was because I'm a girl? Nevertheless, Tom Seaver was an absolute gentleman. Sure, he made a joke about how he was going to make me work for my autograph. (Who's the comedian here?) However, he chatted with me about my experience at the Hall of Fame, personalized the autograph the way I wanted it and was just an overall a cool guy. My dad moped for the rest of the day. Sorry, dude. Maybe next time...