Tom Seaver is alive and well, and his home and vineyard in the heart of Napa Valley wine country are just fine, too.
With wildfires bearing down on his vineyard and being forced to evacuate his Calistoga, Calif. home, the former Met great loaded up his truck with some of his most-prized and irreplaceable treasures and headed to a Northern California hotel where he and his wife Nancy took refuge.
“We literally ran like hell,” Seaver told the Daily News.
Friends had been trying to reach the Hall of Famer for days.
In the truck were some original Richard Diebenkorn paintings, photos of himself throughout his playing career and some baseballs, including his 3,000 strikeout ball.
Raging wildfires tear through Northern California
“Some of the balls that were significant,” said Seaver.
On July 18, 1981, Seaver struck out Keith Hernandez, then of the Cardinals, for No. 3,000. At the time, it wasn’t a big deal to Seaver, who had said, ”It’s more memorable for the fans than for me. A number’s a number. To me, it’s arbitrary in that sense.”
But clearly, it’s a number that has significant meaning today.
What Seaver did not take were any of the awards he’d won during his Hall of Fame career, and that includes his three Cy Young Awards.
Seaver with the Mets in 1970.
What was most important to Seaver, choking up just thinking about it, were his animals.
“I was worried more about my dogs,” said Seaver. “My animals are a very big part of my life and they’re in a safe haven. I put them in a place that was a safe.
“The dogs went first before any Cy Young Awards; they can all be remade.”
After fleeing his home late last week, the Seavers plan to return home Monday.
“Yes, you feel lucky,” said Sever about hearing the news from neighbors that their property had been spared, pausing for a moment to think it all over. “But (if we lost the vineyard), we can redo that stuff. The core of the vineyard, the roots are not going to die, just like our roots are not going to die.”