Today the baseball world lost Tom Seaver. I’m grateful that I was able to watch his whole career and damn feel old! In the late 1960s and 70s, Seaver was one of the handful of pitchers who were bigger than life. He joined the sad sack New York Mets in 1967 and within two years, he helped the Miricle Mets win the World Series. When they beat the Frank/Brooks Robinson Baltimore Orioles 4 games to 1, I learned for the first time that great pitching would dominate a great hitting team. Tom Terrific helped the Mets go to the World Series one more time, 1973 when they came up on the short end of the great pitching of the Oakland A’s.
Seaver pitched in a time when the criteria for judging the effectiveness of a pitcher was understood by all. The numbers below are only part of it:
- Pitchers took the mound with the goal of completing and winning the game. Seaver completed 231 games and won 311.
- Great pitchers would win 20 games in a season. Seaver did that five times and led the league three times. In the strike shortened 1981 season, he went 14-2.
- Great pitchers had Earned Run Averages under three. Seaver’s was career total was 2.86 and he led the league three times. In 1971, it was 1.76
- He struck out 3,640 hitters and led the league five times.
- One No-hitter
We’re never going to see the likes of Seaver again. Twenty first Century ball players are judged by mathamatical formulas developed by graduates from Ivy League schools or MIT as is the case of Farhan Zaidi of the Giants. They’er using analytics that some say are taking the fun and the life out of the game. Since modern pitchers aren’t expected to go more than five innings, young pitchers are never going to develop the stamina and skill to get stronger as the game goes on or the capicity to out think the batters when they go through the lineup for the third.
Tom, I know you’ve been battling dementia and you’re in a better place now. Just know that the Tom Seaver I remember is the youthful looking guy with that high pitched laugh, wearing the Met’s pinstripes, with that dirt spot on your right knee that came from pushing off the mound.
What are you grateful for today? Please leave your comments and help us find that shining needle of common ground in that scary haystack of fear.