Tom Seaver, who led the Mets from laughingstocks to world champions and whose singular pride and in his excellence altered the franchise in profound and sometimes controversial ways, passed away Sept. 1 in California at age 75. No player in team history was as revered or influential as No. 41.
What strikes me about Seaver wasn’t just his remarkable ability but the dedication to that ability. He took a pride in craftsmanship and professionalism as few players did and was mindful and protective of what it meant to be excellent. No player took more pride in being among those selected as Hall of Famers. Seaver was better than most other ballplayers and knew it, worked hard to be sure it stayed that way, and wanted very much to be among others who shared that sentiment. That determination and pride would occasionally land him in controversy, clashing with two generations of club management inadequately prepared to deal with such a player and ultimately altering both the trajectory of Seaver’s career and the franchise’s very fortunes. I wrote about that unusual dynamic here.
So long, Tom Terrific.
Strange that I happened to text my brother on Monday to mention that we were at the game exactly 45 years earlier and saw Seaver record his 200th K of the season to set the record for consecutive years with 200 strikeouts. That was Labor Day 1975 and I was about to leave for my freshman year of college. I can still remember sitting in left field seats. Ironic that he passed on that anniversary. There were many more ‘terrific’ moments that I know we all have. I know we’ve lost plenty of our Met idols over the years but this one hurts. #RIP41