Wednesday, September 2, 2020

George Thomas "Tom" Seaver (1944-2020)

This one really hurts for Mets fans.

New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver poses for a photo in March 1968. (AP Photo)

Image courtesy New York Daily News.

Tom Seaver, regarded as the greatest pitcher in Mets history, passed away on Monday at 75 after a year-plus battle with dementia, lyme, and, finally, according to reports, coronavirus.

Drafted out of USC, Seaver joined the Mets in 1967, and was a key part of the team's 1st World Series title in 1969, and returned to the Fall Classic four years later, as the Mets fell to Oakland in a 7 game Series.

However, a salary dispute in the mid-70's, coupled with M. Donald Grant using New York Daily News columnist Dick Young as a gossip, led to Seaver being traded to Cincinnati in June 1977, a deal dubbed, "The Midnight Massacre". That same night, the Mets dealt slugger Dave Kingman to San Diego for Bobby Valentine, but the Seaver trade got the headlines.

Injuries, however, curtailed Seaver's run in Cincinnati, and he returned to the Mets in 1983, but due to shoulder issues, he wasn't the same pitcher he once was, and he finished his career in the American League with the Chicago White Sox and Boston before retiring in 1987. The Red Sox left him off their postseason roster en route to a World Series loss to the Mets.

Seaver turned to broadcasting, having worked some postseason games for NBC & ABC while still an active player. While he never pitched for the Yankees, he joined their broadcast team for a five year stint (1989-93) on WPIX, just a few short years after he'd won his 300th game at the expense of the Bombers, on, of all days, Phil Rizzuto Day. He would also be in the Mets booth when the team moved their broadcast rights to 'PIX a few years after his run in the Yankee booth ended. In addition, Seaver had a stint as host of the syndicated Greatest Sports Legends, which included learning wrestling holds from mat legend Bruno Sammartino.

Seaver won 3 Cy Young Awards, and was the first Met inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Seaver retired from public life a year ago as his battle with dementia became public, and he is survived by his wife, Nancy, and two daughters.

Rest in peace, Tom.

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