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Mets plan to honor Seaver (sources)

Seaver is the team's all-time wins and ERA leader, and a member of the 1969 championship team
@AnthonyDiComo
March 21, 2019

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- For a decade, the Mets’ permanent home has been 123-01 Roosevelt Ave., on the corner of Roosevelt and 126th St. in Flushing, Queens. While the physical location won’t change, the team will soon have a new address to mark it. The Mets are working with

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- For a decade, the Mets’ permanent home has been 123-01 Roosevelt Ave., on the corner of Roosevelt and 126th St. in Flushing, Queens. While the physical location won’t change, the team will soon have a new address to mark it.

The Mets are working with the New York City mayor’s office and the borough of Queens to change Citi Field’s official address to 41 Seaver Way in order to honor Tom Seaver, according to multiple sources. The club plans to announce the change on June 27, kicking off the 50th anniversary celebration of its 1969 World Series championship. The formal announcement will also include information about a Seaver statue to be unveiled in 2020, a source said, though team officials are not currently confirming those plans.

“He’s the greatest player in our franchise history,” Mets executive vice president Lou DePaoli said. “We want to make sure that we honor him appropriately. It means a lot to us. We know it means a lot to the fans. We know what Tom means to the organization, what Tom means to our fans.”

The franchise’s all-time leader in wins, ERA and many other statistical categories, Seaver made 10 All-Star teams during his first 11 years in New York, was a significant member of the 1969 team and, later, a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He and Mike Piazza are the only players in Cooperstown wearing Mets caps on their plaques.

Seaver will not personally take part in this summer’s anniversary celebration. Earlier this month, his family announced that he is suffering from dementia and retiring from public life.

“Tom was a legend in himself,” said 1969 Mets infielder Wayne Garrett, who grew emotional on Thursday talking about Seaver. “There was a presence about him. Whenever you were around him, especially when he walked out on that mound, there was a presence there and you knew that you were going to win. Even when he didn’t have his best stuff, he would beat you. He would find a way to beat you. I get emotional now just thinking of him. Tom meant a lot to all of us. He meant a lot to me.

“Seaver, he just kind of stood head and shoulders over the rest of the pitching staff that we had. I hate to see him in the condition that he’s in. It’s sad.”

About three years ago, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon traveled to Seaver’s home and vineyard in Calistoga, Calif., for a visit. Among the topics discussed were ways to honor Seaver at Citi Field with the 1969 anniversary celebration approaching. The Mets’ official unveiling of those plans will jumpstart their June 28-30 celebration, which they hope will draw every living member of the team besides Seaver to Citi Field.

In recent months, the Mets -- oft criticized for not fully embracing their history -- have made significant efforts to keep their alumni involved. Six members of the 1969 Mets have traveled to Port St. Lucie this spring, in addition to new front-office members David Wright, John Franco and Al Leiter. The club also employs several other former players in broadcast, coaching and advisory roles.

Last year, the Mets created the position of director of alumni relations for former PR director Jay Horwitz, who helped organize the club’s 1969 anniversary celebration. Members of Seaver’s family will attend that event in the pitcher’s stead, though his former teammates hope the event does not become a memorial.

“Let’s not talk about Tom like he’s gone,” Ron Swoboda said. “Tom’s still out there in Calistoga and he’s going to walk out in the vineyard with his dogs when he feels up to it. We’re only upset because … this dementia he’s struggling with is just making his life more difficult. Tom’s here, man. We only wish he could be with us in physical presence.”

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.