Timeline: January 31, 1970
One half-century ago The Sporting News selected Tom Seaver as its Man of the Year.
At the time, The Sporting News served as the most popular publication for baseball fans. In fact, every Saturday throughout my childhood, I would make the weekly pilgrimage on my banana yellow 10-speed Schwinn bicycle about a mile-and-a-half to Hayner’s, a small (and now out of business) newspaper stand to buy SN and get a homemade chocolate chip cookie (about twice the size of my hand). The rest of my weekend was filled devouring page-after-page of baseball news and stories. In short, The Sporting News was it.
When my research revealed Seaver was honored 50 years ago, my first reaction was: “How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
I know what you’re thinking: Shakespeare? Einstein? Dickens? No, no and no.
Try Dr. Seuss.
The Mets ace was just a few months removed from a whirlwind season that included an All-Star selection, Cy Young Award, World Series championship and, after the season, The Sporting News Man of the Year honor.
“When I was a kid growing up in California and watching World Series games on TV, I would watch the celebrating in the victorious dressing room and I thought that would be the ultimate thrill …But now that I have experienced the pandemonium and the joy of the victorious clubhouse, I realize I was wrong. The ultimate thrill for me now in baseball is the game … the actual competition. That is much more important than all the awards I could possibly win. Standing out there on the mound and actually pitching to the batter has replaced the thrill that I thought all those awards would bring. I guess it’s the same as the hunt to the hunter – the actual competition. I appreciate all the awards but … standing on the mound and the competition of the game is the greatest thrill to me.” – Tom Seaver / The Sporting News / January 31, 1970
I have posted the two original stories below for you to enjoy.