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

2.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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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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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: #1,431,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Overall a decent book. Would rate it a 2 for those who saw Seaver's career unfold and a 4 for those who never had the opportunity to see him pitch.

Unfortunately, the author is an over the top Seaver fan and seems to think it necessary to emphasize that Seaver's record would have been better had he had more run support.When he won 20 the author says he should have won 30! When he won 15, the author says he should have won 20!! he won 3 Cy Youngs-the author argues he should have had twice as many!!!

Long story short(and i am a Yankee fan and not a great fan of Seaver) Tom Seaver is a 300 game winner,3 time Cy Young award winner, a near unanimous first ballot Hall of Famer and in the discussion to be one of the greatest pitchers of all time. It is unnecessary to cheapen his legacy by making silly excuses for why he should have been even more successful than he was.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've loved the Mets since 1977 and this is one of the worst Mets or sports books I've read due to the author's slavish devotion to Tom Terrific. i did not feel I got a balanced story from the author who was clearly a Seaver fan. Only the positive attributes of the subject were stressed and you are force fed that Seaver could do no wrong (almost) and he was always three steps above everyone else.

If you are a Mets fan you will not learn one new fact or insight about Tom Seaver. Avoid this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a poorly written, poorly researched, bit of fluff.

If you want to learn more about Tom Seaver, professionally and/or personally, don't expect to learn it here. Not sure how or why this was even published.
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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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