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The Last Icon: Tom Seaver and His Times Hardcover – November 15, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589796608
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589796607
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A fascinating new book... (Steve Serby, Sports Columnist New York Post)

I really enjoy your writing and how you tell the story. (Pete Spadora Spadora on Sports)

You have again handled the Seaver subject matter with aplomb. (Marty Lurie, San Francisco Giants' pre-game host)

...[A]nyone who grew up admiring Tom Terrific will enjoy reading. Clearly New Yorkers and Mets fans will get the most out of this book, but anyone who has ever debated just who the best pitcher in baseball's long history will find grist for the mill within the pages. (AtHomePlate.com)

...[a] must-read for any Mets fan, and for any baseball fan for that matter. (Diane LaRue, Book Chick Di blog)

...[A] friendly, well-researched book about one of the great men of all time... (Eric Alterman, The Nation)

About the Author

Steven Travers is a USC graduate and ex-professional baseball player. He is the author of the best-selling Barry Bonds: Baseball's Superman, nominated for a Casey Award (Best Baseball Book of 2002). He is also the author of The USC Trojans: College Football's All-Time Greatest Dynasty and One Night, Two Teams: Alabama vs. USC and the Game that Changed the Nation. He lives in San Anselmo, California.

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lindapanzo on September 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I've long admired pitching star Tom Seaver, both for his ability to play baseball and for his intelligence. Thus, I was eager to read this biography of Seaver. To say I was tremendously disappointed would be an understatement.

This was probably the worst book I've read this year. If you like your biographies to be objective and/or balanced, this is not the book for you. However, if you like fawning, gushing hero worship, essentially a hagiography, you might enjoy this one.

The writing was so flowery and, at times over the top, that it was tough to read this book, except with a horrified fascination.

Also, the author was just plain mean, in a weird, almost childish, way, towards many of Seaver's competitors and/or opponents. For example, of San Diego Padre pitcher Randy Jones, the author calls him a "figure barely recalled by history who also could not carry Seaver's dirty jockstrap." Others were said to not hold a candle to the great Seaver. You get the idea. Lots of opinions without facts to back them up.

When Seaver's record was substandard or he did not win an award that the author believes Seaver should've won, the author piles on excuses. Seaver's team never scored any runs for him, unlike pitchers on other teams, apparently. Others were just jealous of him and his greatness, or so it was claimed, again and again and again.

The personal information provided about Seaver was interesting, at times, but the author included far too many generalizations. How can we really know that he was the last of the nonadulterous baseball player in the majors? How can we know that some of his teammates followed his lead in this regard? Was there a survey taken?

The author adds: "Curiously, the 'quintessential Seaver book' was never written ...
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Richard Kaplan on November 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The title and the subject have such great promise and this book does an OK job covering the man who more than any other defined NY baseball in the late 60s and early 70s. Maybe it's unfair, but I expected better; something more akin to a Kahn's Boys of Summer or Charles Einstein's Willie's Time. Travers is maybe a little too excited or swept up in his iconography of Seaver and got lost in his own fascination of the man. On the one hand there are great details about the highlights of Seaver's career - coming to the Mets, the almost no-hitter against the Cubs, and of course the 69 and 73 pennant races and World Series games. The book also does a good job describing, from the pitcher's perspective, the events leading up to the Cincinnati trade. In between though are somewhat incomplete observations about who he did and didn't get along with, Seaver's ease in crossing racial lines, and his commitment to his family and maintaining his own set of values. None of this is bad or inaccurate (as far as I might know) but much of it is oddly placed, not always in context or rehashed in other chapters.

What I truly enjoyed about this work was the devotion to detail of the 69 and 73 seasons, as well as other highlight periods in Seaver's career. Travers is good about taking you back to games that I distinctly remember watching on WOR, listening to on the radio or actually seeing at Shea. Those memories alone make the book worthwhile.
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Mastaitis on January 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I got to page 130 of this book and just had to stop. I got it as a Christmas present. I had wanted it because, as a huge Mets fan, I thought it would be a great read, not only on Seaver, but on the whole team in that era. I was disappointed, first, I thought the author used way too much puffery to describe Seaver and the Mets, and this became very repetative. Also, this book was laced with right-wing conservative boosterism that was barely disguised. For example, the author seems obsessed with Seaver's opposition to the war in Vietnam, and his wife Nancy's supposed liberalism. The author repeatedly seeks to counter their political views with "facts" that just happen to be wrong and debunked conservative theories. For example he cites the "Nixon-Kissenger triangulation policy" as responsible for the US getting out of Vietnam. I can't think of 1 historian who would agree with that assessment. I think most would say Nixon expanded the war into Cambodia and Laos, and it became an evern bigger fiasco than it was.

The author also peppers the book with bizarre religious references, especially to Pentacostalism, the rapture, and other things that have absolutely nothing to do with baseball. He also seems to argue that most baseball and sports fans are Republicans since only Republicans believe in hard work and effort. (this despite the fact that Mets fans are probably the most liberal in pro sports....)

In short, this book was exceptionally annoying, especially if you just wanted a book on baseball. Also, it relies to much on stock quotes, especially from Seaver, as if the author was taking dictation. Please don't buy this book. It is bad.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Diane VINE VOICE on December 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Tom Seaver is the quintessential New York Met. The Mets were a hapless team, a joke in baseball when Seaver was signed in 1966. Steven Travers' new book, The Last Icon: Tom Seaver and His Times takes you back to those days.

Seaver was a Southern California boy, raised in a conservative family in a conservative community. He was not the best baseball player, but he loved the game. He became a real student of the game, studying the history of it and mechanics of pitching.

He was one of the first major league players to use a weight training program, after discovering that working in a loading dock at a factory made him stronger and improved his stamina and pitching.

I learned many things from this interesting book. I had heard of the Cape Cod league for up and coming players, but I had no idea that what Cape Cod was to east coast baseball, Alaska was the western equivalent. Who would have thought that? Seaver's days playing for a great coach in Alaska help make him the great player he became.

The Vietnam War was raging, and I never knew how many players were in the reserves, and missed games to serve their weekends. I can't imagine that happening today.

Seaver was an intelligent guy, and during the off-season, he went back to USC to take classes to finish his degree. Not many athletes then or now would do that, although back in the 1960s, the contracts were not that lucrative.

Winning was important to Seaver, and he had a strong work ethic. It annoyed him that many of the players on the Mets did not take the job of baseball seriously. Some of his teammates did not like Seaver, thinking that he believed himself to be better than they were.
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