Tom Seaver and the Mets’ enduring hope from 1969

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Fifty years ago the previously stumbling, bumbling Mets capped the most unlikely championship run in baseball history. No one was more important to that team than Tom Seaver, artist on the mound and an American ideal off it.

Tom Seaver looked out the window of his home office in Calistoga, Calif., his back to baseball and the past.

Behind him on this day in May 2017 were photographs and totems of a career that in both form and substance stands as the closest man has ever come to mastering the art of pitching. There was a shot of young Tom standing with Gil Hodges, not only his manager with the Mets but also a fellow Marine and a second father to him. There were his three Cy Young Awards, from 1969, ’73 and ’75.

Body and coif still robustly thick at age 72, Tom peered ahead, to his grape arbors on Diamond Mountain, with Mount St. Helena looming in the distance. Dear God, he could not believe how lucky he was.

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