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.