Brooks D. Simpson Profile picture
Sep 3, 2020 11 tweets 3 min read Read on X
A few thoughts on the passing of Tom Seaver ...

As the 1960s ended, while New York had its share of sports superstars, this was not the case in baseball, where greatness was most easily glimpsed during Yankees Old Timers games.
The Yankees had to brag about the next Mantle (Bobby Murcer) and a young catcher named Thurman Munson, and Mel Stottlemyre was an example of steady and quiet excellence, but that was it.

The Mets? Only one player truly stood out. He was the best ballplayer NY had. Tom Seaver.
One could sense even in 1969 that Seaver was Cooperstown-bound. To go 25-7 and excel in the age of Gibson and Marichal was something. There were pretty good Mets, such as Jerry Koosman, but there was only one great Met in 1969 ... Tom Seaver.
Although I most clearly identified as a Yankees fan, our household had none of that Yankees-Mets rivalry. My mom was a Mets fan, because she'd been a Dodgers fan (pay attention, gf!).
I even predicted that the Mets would make the World Series in our student newspaper (take note, @GregLogan1 and @OysterBayBomber) in an issue that came out just as the Mets were beating up on the Cubs at Shea.

Yes, I was a sports reporter. Kinda.
I loved watching Seaver pitch, largely because of his mechanics and because he reminded me of just how much thinking went into pitching. I was always struck by how he came out of his delivery ready to field his position.
But there were two other things about Seaver I loved.

First, he was intelligent. Very intelligent and thoughtful. Along with Bill Bradley, he stood as a role model of how smart guys who thought before they spoke could play ball.
Second, he wasn't afraid to offer his opinions on politics. He wasn't loud, but he was assertive, and he had a mind of his own.
You'll hear a lot about Seaver the ballplayer over the next several days, but I recall how on the eve of the '69 series Seaver said that it was time for the United States to get out of Vietnam.
He promised to place an ad in the @nytimes proclaiming that if the Mets could win the World Series, the United States could get out of Vietnam.

He didn't need to do that. He didn't need to risk that.

But he used his platform to express his views.
So I always thought Tom Seaver was a pretty good role model.

Coming from a Yankees fan ... well, need I say more?

#TomSeaver #TomSeaverRIP

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More from @BrooksDSimpson

Apr 10
Yesterday I shared with you various images of the events in Wilmer McLean's parlor on April 9, 1865.

Today I plan to share a few more images that shape our memory of what happened that day ... and April 10, 1865 as well.

Grant and Lee met a second time this day in 1865.
These images fall into three categories.

First, there are images of an imagined surrender conference outside that draw upon talk of an apple tree at Appomattox.

Second, there's Lee's departure from the McLean House.

Third, there's the April 10 meeting.
Let's look first at the imagined outdoor April 9 encounter.

Sometimes Grant and Lee meet while mounted on their horses. A rather dapper Ulysses, no? Image
Read 10 tweets
Apr 9
Visual portrayals of what happened in Wilmer McLean's parlor on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House are worth some study.

Here's a simple early version: two generals, one table. Image
The table is a curious effort to bring together elements of the two tables involved in the event. Grant said at a brown wood oval table; Lee sat at a squarish marble table. Grant's chair was a swivel desk chair backed in leather, while Lee sat in a high-backed chair.
Yet it took a while for artists to include those four pieces of furniture, let alone to assign them to the general who used them. Image
Read 21 tweets
Apr 9
As true Americans commemorate the anniversary of Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox, let's recall that the events of April 9 marked an end to one of the most successful pursuits in military history ... one that is often underappreciated.
In some sixteen days the US forces under Grant's command repulsed a breakout attempt, severed Confederate supply lines and railroads, forced the evacuation of Petersburg and the the Confederate capital at Richmond.

That's for starters.
They then outmarched a foe determined to escape, blocked any chance of the enemy combining forces in North Carolina, then headed the insurgents off before they could reach the protection of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

In the process the foe suffered nearly 50% losses.
Read 5 tweets
Apr 8
Tomorrow is the anniversary of Robert E. Lee's surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House.

Most of us recall the generous terms Grant offered Lee, which stood in contrast to his reputation as "Unconditional Surrender" Grant.

But what about Lee?
After all, on April 6, at the battle of Sailor's Creek, Lee watched as his army crumbled under US attacks. "My God, has the army dissolved?" Lee declared in desperation.

Lee was in dire straits.
Gone was any chance of uniting with Confederate forces under Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina.

Gone also was the chance of dealing any sort of significant blow against his foe.

All that was left was to continue westward to the protection of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Read 23 tweets
Apr 8
A few notes on Ulysses S. Grant's personal involvement with the institution of slavery prior to the American Civil War for those who might be interested ...
Grant grew up in an antislavery home. As a boy his father had worked in a tannery owned by Owen Brown, who had a son named John. I bet you've heard of him.

As a boy Grant attended a preparatory school in Ripley, Ohio, run by Reverend John Rankin.
What else did Rankin run? A stop on the Underground Railroad.

Recall Eliza's fording the Ohio in *Uncle Tom's Cabin*?

The real life event took place in this vicinity. The Eliza in question was Eliza Harris. Image
Read 19 tweets
Dec 30, 2023
What stake did non-slaveholding southern whites have in the protection and preservation of slavery? Why would they support secession? Why would they go to war?

Reasonable questions.
First, not all white southerners supported the Confederacy. There were Unionists. There were also deserters.

The Confederacy had to resort to conscription in 1862 to recruit its ranks. Even Lee complained about desertion and questioned the commitment of Confederate civilians.
Still, a lot of non-slaveholding whites did support secession and joined the Confederate armed forces.

Does that meant that the Confederacy did not rest upon the foundation on slavery?
Read 23 tweets

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