He brought the Miracle Mets their first World Series championship and brought fans a sense of hope and excitement like they never had before.
"Tom Terrific," as he was known, was one of the best and most popular pitchers in the history of the game, and he was simply the greatest Met of all time.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced Wednesday that Seaver passed away in his sleep early Monday morning. He died of complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19.
Known as "The Franchise," Seaver broke into the Major Leagues with the Mets in 1967, and as a rookie made the All-Star game. He went on to be named the National League Rookie of the Year.
Two years later, he would win the first of his three Cy Young Awards. That's when Seaver led the league in wins with 25 and was a key member of the '69 Miracle Mets World Series-winning team.
Teammate Cleon Jones would say, "Tom does everything well. He's the kind of man you'd want your kids to grow up to be like."
Unfortunately, Seaver wouldn't spent his entire career in Queens. He was involved in a controversial 1977 trade to the Cincinnati Reds that New York sports reporters dubbed "the Midnight Massacre."
Seaver would pitch for four different teams in the big leagues, capping his incredible 20-year career with 311 wins and 12 All-Star appearance. He entered the Hall of Fame in 1992 with the highest all-time percentage of votes at that time -- 98.8%. He, along with Mike Piazza, are the only players to go into the Hall with a Mets cap on their plaque.
CBS2's Otis Livingston spoke with Ed Kranepool, one of Seaver's Met teammates.
"Tom was an icon. He was from day one, the way his approach to the game was, when he joined the Met organization, he turned us from a laughingstock into a professional organization. And it only took a couple of years for us to win a pennant with him as being the anchor of the ball club. We're going to really miss him. Tough loss in Metsville. Tonight was the biggest lost to the whole organization because he was our number one star," Kranepool said.
The Mets released the following statement Wednesday:
"We are devastated to learn of the passing of Mets legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. Tom was nicknamed 'The Franchise' and 'Tom Terrific' because of how valuable he truly was to our organization and our loyal fans, as his #41 was the first player number retired by the organization in 1988. He was simply the greatest Mets player of all-time, and among the best to ever play the game which culminated with his near unanimous induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.
"Beyond the multitude of awards, records, accolades, World Series championship, All-Star appearances, and just overall brilliance, we will always remember Tom for his passion and devotion to his family, the game of baseball, and his vineyard.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Nancy, daughters Sarah and Anne and four grandsons Thomas, William, Henry and Tobin."
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred Jr. released the following statement:
"I am deeply saddened by the death of Tom Seaver, one of the greatest pitchers of all-time. Tom was a gentleman who represented the best of our National Pastime. He was synonymous with the New York Mets and their unforgettable 1969 season. After their improbable World Series Championship, Tom became a household name to baseball fans – a responsibility he carried out with distinction throughout his life.
"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my condolences to Tom's family, his admirers throughout our game, Mets fans, and the many people he touched."
Seaver was great and he knew it. He threw out the final pitch at Shea Stadium and the first pitch at Citi Field.
He was asked if he was surprised he was picked to do both. He laughed and said, who else was gonna do it?
He leaves behind his wife, Nancy, and two daughters, Sarah and Anne.
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