The Good Press — Issue #21: Impact
Hello and welcome to another edition of The Good Press.
Thanks for reading. I hope you find this issue to be worth your time.
Comments and reader suggestions are always welcome.
I want to explore the concept of impact and what it means to leave a legacy.
Last week, the baseball world lost an all-time great, as New York Mets Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver passed away at age 75, at home with his family, after recently contracting COVID-19 and a years-long battle with dementia.
The right-hander from Fresno, California was one of the greatest pitchers to ever pick up a baseball, and later in life established an award-winning winery.
His impact on the New York Mets is second-to-none. Simply put, he was, is, and likely forever will be, the greatest player in franchise history. Among his many accomplishments was leading the Mets to their first World Series championship in 1969, one of the great underdog stories in sports history.
The “Miracle Mets” of 1969 won it all after finishing last place or second-to-last place in the National League every previous season in franchise history. With Seaver leading the way, they became out-of-nowhere world champions.
Seaver’s exploits and achievements led to a Hall of Fame induction in 1992 by a voting margin of 98.8%, a then-record which stood for almost a quarter-century. His #41 uniform was formally retired by the Mets, as no one will ever don that uniform number ever again, lest they be unfairly compared.
On April 22, 1970, Seaver struck out 10 batters in a row, a Major League record that has still yet to be matched by anyone, even all these years later.
For the Mets, he was known as “The Franchise,” or simply “Tom Terrific.”
He will be missed, and he will be remembered, even by those who never got to see him pitch and have only heard the stories. I am one of those people.
Jackie Robinson once said that “a life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Tom Seaver was not the most quotable person, but many people had terrific things to say about Tom Terrific, and I’ll link to that below.
Robinson also once said that “life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion, you’re wasting your life.” On that note, let’s talk more about impact.
Impact is about having an effect on someone, or many someones. Robinson and Seaver both left lasting impressions on people, (for different and also similar reasons) even on those like me who weren’t able to see them play.
What kind of impact do you have on others? What kind of legacy do you imagine you will have written for yourself when all is said and done?
It’s something I’ve thought about when it comes to writing The Good Press, this weekly newsletter that I started writing all these months ago before I had any idea what it would even be about. I’m happy to still be writing, happy that it has a small impact and is looked forward to each Wednesday morning.
All of us are capable of leaving a meaningful legacy in this world, having a lasting impact on others that makes their lives a little bit better. I think that’s something that’s attainable to everybody, no matter their status or reach.
You, me, all of us, are all capable of kindness, love, and understanding, and spreading those positive feelings to others. That’s impactful. That’s powerful.
We may not be Tom Seaver, but then again, who is? He was one of one.
You don’t have to be a Hall of Fame athlete to be a Hall of Fame person, and you don’t have to be famous to have a lasting impact of positivity on others.
In Other Words
Since I did not have the pleasure of watching Seaver work his craft, I thought it would be appropriate to bring you some perspectives of those who did.
First, here’s ESPN’s David Schoenfield on how Seaver transformed the Mets.
Bruce Weber of The New York Times wrote a tremendous Seaver obituary.
Tom Seaver, Pitcher Who Led 'Miracle Mets' to Glory, Dies at 75
A Hall of Famer, Seaver won 311 games for four different teams. But Mets fans called him Tom Terrific for turning…
The National Baseball Hall of Fame’s official statement on Seaver’s passing included several great quotes from Seaver’s peers that speak to his legacy.
Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver passes away at age 75
( COOPERSTOWN, NY) - Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver passed away in the early hours of Monday, August 31. He was 75…
For paid subscribers of The Athletic, Joe Posnanski wrote about how Seaver had a little bit of everything good, and it all added up to make him great.
Posnanski: Tom Seaver had a little bit of everything good and that made him great
"I go by and look at my plaque every year. And you're not supposed to touch the plaque, but I put my hand on it. Then I…
Lastly, I spoke to my grandfather, the baseball fan who taught me everything I know, about what his perspective was on The Franchise. Here’s what he said:
Seaver led the way for the Mets like Jacob deGrom does today. Big difference was, Seaver had all-around support: pitching, hitting & defense. He was a star among stars. Everyone was shocked when he was traded to the Reds. It was supposedly a nasty contract dispute. Have to remember baseball is still big business! Back then, the starting pitcher was expected to go at least 7 innings or all 9. The TV commentators didn’t show the pitch count so it was not unusual for a starter to throw 125–150 pitches. Bullpens were important but usually, you just had a closer and a couple of “mop-up” guys.
To sum it up: when you gave Tom Seaver the ball, you expected a win.
That’s a special feeling in baseball that is not often duplicated. To be so reliable, so consistently great, that fans expect to win every time you have the ball? That’s a level of greatness and impact that very few have reached.
Just for kicks, if you’ve got three hours to spare, you can watch Game 4 of the 1969 World Series on YouTube, in which (spoiler alert!) Seaver masterfully pitched 10 innings of winning baseball to beat the favored Baltimore Orioles.
Rest in Peace, Tom. Gone, but never forgotten. An impact like few others.
I end today with a familiar refrain about something that has serious impact.
If you are not registered to vote yet, or you want to check and make sure you are registered, please visit Vote.org for all your voting information needs.
Everything You Need to Vote - Vote.org
"For this Nation to remain true to its principles, we cannot allow any American's vote to be denied, diluted, or…
Not only can you ensure you’re registered on Vote.org, you can also request an absentee ballot if you’d like to safely vote without heading to the polls.
FiveThirtyEight also launched a voting info project with state-by-state info.
For example, New York State allows you to register to vote until October 9. New for this year’s general election is an Early Voting period. Absentee ballots can be requested online. Your vote is impactful, from the general election down to the local races. I sincerely hope you have a plan to vote.
Lastly, for those who want to go above and beyond and make even more of an impact in their communities, you can sign up to be a paid poll worker here:
Power the Polls
America is facing a record shortage of poll workers this year due to the coronavirus. Our democracy depends on ordinary…
America is facing a shortage of poll workers due to the virus. Sign up now to make sure we have a safe, fair, efficient election for all.
If you sign up to be a poll worker, you will receive personal protective equipment, training, and compensation. There’s more information here if you’re interested in lending an impactful helping hand to your community.
Sometimes, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for how big an impact we can have, even as individual people on a planet of over 7 billion people.
Think about all your loved ones, all the people you keep in contact with on a regular basis. Maybe it’s the parents or grandparents you’ve taught how to Zoom or FaceTime. You can’t tell me that’s not making an impact when you take the time to say hello, see how they’re doing, tell them you love them.
Now that you’re done reading this week’s issue, why not give them a call now? I’m sure they would appreciate it. It might seem like the smallest gesture in the world to you, but I imagine it’s more impactful than you think.
Even when the world is tumultuous, keeping that positive attitude and being able to pass it along to others is a wonderful thing. Each week in The Good Press I say variations of the same thing, but it’s something worth repeating.
Choose love, peace, kindness, empathy, and understanding. Reject hate, ignorance, judgment, and other ugly forces. Believe in the best of people.
If we all do that, that would make a lasting impact on this world. We can do it if we do it together. Be kind to yourself and encourage others to do the same.
Previously in The Good Press
The Good Press — Issue #20: Courage
On courage and bravery, and a remarkable week of not sticking to sports
September 2, 2020
The Good Press — Issue #18: Power
Considering your power, your voice, and what you can do with it
August 19, 2020