A book by Pat Jordan
The story of a forty-year friendship between two strong-willed, talented men — one a great success as a baseball pitcher, the other an abject failure.
I tell him what Hemingway said about writing talent, “It’s like a knife blade. If you save it, it gets dull and rusty. Better to use it constantly to keep it sharp even if it wears down.”
Tom tilts his head like dogs do when confused by their master. He says, with a small smile, “You just keep thinking, Butch. That’s what you’re good at.”
I say, “I got vision, Sundance, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”
Tom throws again. Fastball, low outside corner to a right handed batter.
I shake my head and say, “If I could have thrown my fastball to that spot, Big Guy, you’d be interviewing me right now.”
Pat Jordan was ostensibly assigned to write a profile of Mets pitching superstar Tom Seaver for Sports Illustrated. Within an hour of that meeting, the two men are beating each other up playing basketball. For the next forty years they meet intermittently to talk, argue, laugh, trade insults, and analyze one another as pitchers, and men, well into their seventies.
Mirror opposites of one another in many ways—the methodically precise Seaver, and the compulsively introspective Jordan—they come to learn a lot about themselves through their relationship.
A poignant story about friendship, aging, ambition, talent and fate.
A Conversation with Pat Jordan:
Q: What inspired you to write Tom Seaver and Me?
A: I have always wanted to write a book about Tom Seaver and our friendship, but not a biography of him. He was more interesting as a person than a sports icon. In fact, he was one of the most interesting people I ever met. Finally, the last time we met when I was 73 and Tom 70, I realized that was the time do it. We were both old men. How much longer did we have left? Besides, nobody has ever written such a book, because Tom never opened up to anyone the way he did to me. So, I did it.
Q: What do you hope is the biggest takeaway from the book?
A: Well, Tom’s fascinating and funny personality is one takeaway. But the big takeaway is how diligently he worked at his craft to make himself Tom Seaver, the greatest pitcher of his age. All that grinding hard work, thought, and discipline. Yet, he was always just a big, overgrown boy to me. Tom Sawyer.
Q: What is your favorite memory of Tom Seaver?
A: The last time I saw him, he leaned over my car and said, through the window, with a look of absolute wonder, “Ya know, I can still see very pitch.”
Q: What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
A: My father, a gambler, con man and grifter, told me once, “only a fool or a child believes in perfect justice.” My father was an orphan. He grew up, from the day he was born until he was 15, in an orphanage. I asked him how he survived. He said, “Easy, kid, you keep walking through shit until you get to clover.
Q: What is something readers would be surprised to learn about you? A: My best friends in my life, as I head toward the big 80, have always been women. I never had a male buddy, but I can call up any number of women, even those I haven’t seen in years, if I need a big favor.
"Tom Seaver and Me" by Pat Jordan goes on sale May 26, 2020
$28.00 US / $37.00 CAD