Last week, the baseball community was delivered heartbreaking news. The family of Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver announced Thursday that he has been diagnosed with dementia. The New York Mets legend, three-time NL Cy Young winner, 12-time All-Star, and 1969 World Series champion will not be able to remember key memories from his life. The dominant pitcher that could once silence the best hitters in baseball is now forced to retire from public life.
In a career as eminent and illustrious as Seaver’s, there are historical moments that stand out. Achievements that solidify his status in the annals of baseball history. Let’s further investigate the Top Five moments of Tom Seaver’s career.
Tom Seaver’s Career Accomplishments
No. 5 – Seaver Records No. 300
In the twilight of Seaver’s career, he would pitch for the Chicago White Sox. While he did not win a World Series with the team, he would earn a feat that only 24 pitchers in MLB history have achieved.
On August 4, 1985, Seaver would return to Yankee Stadium to take on the New York Yankees. The veteran pitcher would go a full nine innings, only giving up six hits and one walk while recording seven strikeouts. The White Sox would end up beating the Yankees 4-1, and the New York fans were raucously chanting Seaver’s name by the eighth inning.
With the win, Seaver would earn his 300th victory in MLB, in the same city where the pitcher would record his first win with the Mets.
No. 4 – Seaver Gets His No-No
When Seaver was traded from the Mets to the Cincinnati Reds, his accolades were extraordinary. He generated five strikeout titles, a World Series championship, and three NL Cy Young awards.
However, the elusive no-hitter had not yet been in Seaver’s grasp. While he caught a glimpse of what a perfect game would feel like in 1969, recording 25 consecutive outs, it would become meaningless on June 16, 1978.
Facing a St. Louis Cardinals team that featured multiple Gold Glove winner and two-time World Series champion Keith Hernandez, Seaver blanked them all. He would generate three strikeouts and three walks, en route to the only no-hitter of his career. Only four Cardinals pitchers would reach base, and in seven of the nine innings, Seaver retired the side. He would become the 13th pitcher in Reds history to record the illustrious no-hitter.
No. 3 – The Near Perfect Game
Let’s further dive into Seaver’s near perfect game. Few pitchers have achieved the feat, but many have had it within their grasp.
On July 9, 1969, Seaver’s Mets would take on a Chicago Cubs squad that featured Hall of Fame first baseman Ernie Banks. Through eight innings, Seaver retired all the Cubs batters and never gave up any walks. The perfect game was within reach.
With one out in the top of the ninth, Jim Qualls, a career .223 hitter, would record a single to left-center field, ending the perfect game bid for Seaver. While his chance at history would be brought to an inexorable halt, Seaver only gave up one hit in that outing, generating 11 strikeouts. The Mets would go on to win their franchise’s inaugural World Series later that fall with Seaver at the helm.
No. 2 – 19 K’s for Magic Seaver
On April 22, 1970, in front of the rowdy Shea Stadium crowd, Seaver put on a historical show. The San Diego Padres got a dose of the diversity of pitches Seaver can throw with effectiveness.
Only giving up two hits in the Mets 4-2 win over the Padres, Seaver would rack up 19 strikeouts, tying an MLB record that would eventually be broken by Roger Clemens, Kerry Wood, and most recently, Max Scherzer.
But most impressively, Seaver would retire the last 10 batters he faced with strikeouts. This MLB record has yet to be broken, adding to the legend of this illustrious pitcher.
No. 1 – Game 4, 1969 World Series
A pitcher’s legacy is determined based on pivotal performances in the postseason. Baseball fans recall Don Larsen‘s perfect game in the 1956 World Series or Roy Halladay‘s no-hitter as evidence for long-lasting stardom.
For Seaver, his postseason magic came in the 1969 World Series, as the Mets took on the Baltimore Orioles. In Game 4 at Shea Stadium, Seaver would record his 18th complete game of the 1969 season. What was most impressive with this performance was his ability to go all 10 innings in the Mets 2-1 walk-off victory over the Orioles. Seaver would give up six hits, one earned run, and generate six strikeouts in this masterful performance, holding an explosive Orioles offense that featured Brooks Robinson to just one run.
In a 20-year career, Seaver compiled 311 wins, 3,640 strikeouts, 61 shutout performances, and a 2.86 ERA. With performances like his Game 4 of the World Series, among many others, Seaver’s legacy will forever be immortalized and remembered for generations to come.
Thank you, Tom, for everything.
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