Boomer & Gio React To Tom Seaver's Dementia Diagnosis

By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York

Thursday was a sad day for Mets fans as Tom Seaver's family announced the Hall of Famer has been diagnosed with dementia and is retiring from public life

On Friday's "Boomer & Gio" show, Boomer Esiason described visiting his boyhood idol at his Napa Valley vineyard three years ago.

Seaver was still lucid at the time but did occassionally experience memory lapses, Esiason said. 

"So going out there and seeing him and spending time with him and watching him kind of struggle through some of the memories, you knew that something was coming," Esiason said. "It was kind of the elephant in the room, and we all understood. And I remember leaving just saying to myself, 'Man, I'm just so glad I got a chance to sit down and really just talk to him and tell him how much I appreciated him as an athlete.' And I always admired him from afar as a broadcaster as well."

Tom Seaver in 2009Getty Images

Seaver is Esiason's favorite athlete of all time. 

"As a kid growing up, my dad would pick me up -- I'd be sitting on the stoop in front of my house, I'd have my 41 New York Mets jersey on," he remembered. "I was 8 years old in 1969, so I saw him all through the early '70s, and it was like he was bigger than life. He was Joe Namath. He was Willis Reed. He was Clyde Frazier. He was (in) that group of athletes that were all here at the same time, and if you were lucky enough to grow up around here at that time, you saw a lot of winning."

The Seaver news also hit Esiason's WFAN co-host, Gregg Giannotti, hard.

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"In situations like this, it's twofold the reaction," he said. "One is of pure sadness if you're a fan of the Mets, if you remember watching Tom Seaver pitch or even if you're a guy like me that is a Mets fan and is in tune with the history and understands how important he was to the organization -- and still is to the organization and its fans. Then it's also a time to look back on what was an amazing career and one that provided so much happiness for so many people."

Esiason has been calling for the Mets to erect a Seaver statue at Citi Field since it opened 10 years ago.

"I'm hoping that (new general manager) Brodie Van Wagenen, who has actually changed the mindset of this Met team just in the previous three to four months since he's been here, will also advocate for a statue for Tom Seaver," Esiason said.

To listen to Friday's show open, click on the audio player above.