WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, NY – Once upon a time – back in 1972 – a magical moment happened on the corner of 182nd street and St. Nicholas Ave. Richie, Mike, Theo, Nico, and I were playing our all day stickball game. We would usually get interrupted when automobiles would drive through the block, which was also our street tarred playground. Sometimes the crosswalk light would turn red and back up the cars by the manhole, where our home plate was located.
On this one day a blue car was waiting for the light to change when suddenly, a familiar face on the driver’s side of the vehicle asked us which way was the George Washington Bridge. There was a woman with blonde hair sitting in the front passenger’s seat. She was just as beautiful as when I saw her face the other day on my television screen, as I watched the Mets 2022 home opener. Nancy Seaver had that same Hollywood smile that she wore up in Washington Heights fifty years ago, when she waited for us to answer her husband Tom’s question.
It all came back to my memory bank when I saw Nancy’s face light up at the unveiling of her husband’s statue. As Tom Terrific waited for directions to the bridge, we stood there in semi-shock mode. Nico finally put some words together and answered, “Straight down to Wadsworth, then make a left to 178th and then a right.” Seaver responded with the words, “Got it, thanks a lot,” as Nancy’s smile was like a glow of sunshine in the hood.
Before he drove off Mike asked the Mets ace, “What was your E.R.A. after last night?” Seaver answered “2.38” without hesitation. We all looked at each other with a “Holy Sh*t” look on our faces.
We then told our other five friends that were on the “field,” who was in the car. They were in awe. Everything happened in less than a minute and even though a N.Y. Met rode through our hood, which was N.Y. Yankees turf, the respect for number 41 was evident.
Tom and Nancy Seaver were like a Prince and Princess, who brought royalty to our block during that drive-by. Even though he’s gone, the greatest Met will live forever with that one memory he left to a bunch of stickball players.
That’s it for me. Drop your thoughts below and come back tomorrow for our resident Tom Seaver fanatic, Short Matt.