THE MAKING OF A PITCHER
This Met fan congratulates you for your excellent article on the abilities of our Tom Seaver (Tom Terrific and His Mystic Talent, July 24). The crisp, lucid style of writing, the fine balance of the poetic and the analytic provide a perfect mirror of Seaver in his best form.
So much has been written about the Mets' main man that is just a rehash of old stuff that Pat Jordan's fine article comes through as a clear, new voice in the journalistic wilderness.
Congratulations on an interesting article. But are you sure you are not confusing mystic talent with mystic linguistics?
Pat Jordan refers to the records of Grover Cleveland Alexander, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Warren Spahn, all obviously late starters, when comparing Tom Seaver's 95 victories before the age of 27. He then conveniently swings his journalistic pendulum to the "first five full seasons" to compare Seaver with Walter Johnson.
Putting them in proper perspective, Johnson, who started pitching in the majors at 19, had won 174 games, 79 more than Tom, before he reached the age of 27. Alexander, who didn't pitch in the majors until age 24, won 128 games in his first five full seasons of play.
By stating that Alexander had won only 70 games by his 27th birthday, Mr. Jordan denies the reader knowledge that Alexander had actually won those 70 games in his first three seasons. Could this omission constitute a journalistic balk?
Seaver did establish a one-game superiority over rookie Burt (No-Hit) Hooton, but Mr. Jordan fails to even acknowledge the existence of Hooton's teammate, Fergie Jenkins (five 20-victory seasons in a row), who, though just one year older than Seaver, actually totaled 107 victories during those same five seasons ending in '71, 12 more than Tom.
Tom Terrific has a new fan. Seaver defies the old adage of all brawn and no brain. I admire athletes with exceptional talent, but those with his character are indeed exceptional. Reaching personal goals, fulfilling one's potential, cultivating the aspects of one's talent are only a few of the characteristics that make Seaver the man he is.
Thanks to SI and Pat Jordan for explaining Tom Seaver's dedication to himself and to his profession.
E. DARLENE WALROND
The article by Pat Jordan is one of the most interesting and helpful stories I have ever read in SI. I suggest that you make it available as a reprint and get it into the hands of as many young athletes as possible. Tom Seaver's philosophy could be profitable to many of us—young or old.
NORMAN L. MACDONALD