Tom Seaver, arguably the greatest Mets player of all-time and the organization’s first-ever superstar, died at the age of 75 early Monday from complications from Lyme disease and dementia, the Mets confirmed on Wednesday.
“We are devastated to learn of the passing of Mets legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver,” a statement from team owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon read. “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.”
Seaver was one of the top pitchers of his era, winning 311 games with 3,640 career strikeouts, three Cy Young Award, and a mythical World Series title in 1969 as the superstar of one of baseball’s most improbable champions.
Signed by the Mets in 1966, Seaver was in the majors by the following year, winning 16 games in each of his first two seasons on a New York team that lived up to its reputation as loveable losers. Established in 1962, the Mets never came close to a winning season until that magical 1969 season.
As the staff ace that season, Seaver had one of the best campaigns of his career, going 25-7 with a 2.21 ERA to win his first-career Cy Young Award. His other two came in 1973 and 1975.
He remained the resolute constant within an organization that was anything but until 1977 when he was shockingly traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, Dan Norman, and Pat Zachry in a trade that was nicknamed “The Midnight Massacre.”
After winning an additional 75 games with the Reds over three seasons, he was brought back to the Mets as a 38-year-old in 1983 before moving on to the Chicago White Sox, where he won his 300th career game, and the Boston Red Sox before retiring in 1986.
The Fresno, CA native is the Mets’ all-time leader in WAR for pitchers (76.0), ERA (2.57), wins (198), strikeouts (2,541), complete games (171), and shutouts (44).
Seaver was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 and held the record for the highest voting percentage (98.8%) for 24 years. He was also the lone Mets representative in Cooperstown during that same 24-year stretch until Mike Piazza’s enshrinement in 2016.
While he remained a mainstay around the organization for years, he retired from public life in March 2019, shortly after he was diagnosed with dementia. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, and two daughters, Sarah and Anne.