Tom Seaver

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George Thomas Seaver (born November 17, 1944 in Fresno, California) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who broke into the major leagues in 1967 and retired in 1986. He played for four different teams in his career but was primarily associated with his first, the New York Mets. He won the National League Rookie of the Year Award and three Cy Young Awards as the league's best pitcher.

Nicknamed "Tom Terrific" and "The Franchise," he had 311 wins, 3,640 strikeouts and a 2.86 ERA in a 20-year career. In 1992 he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Early years

Template:MLB HoF As a high school pitcher Seaver compensated for his lack of size and strength by developing great control on the mound, and despite being an All-City basketball player, he hoped to play baseball in college. After six months of active duty in the Marine Corps Reserves, he enrolled at Fresno City College much stronger and with greater velocity, but still with the same fine control of his pitches. The next year, he was recruited to pitch for the University of Southern California. In 1966 he signed a contract with the Atlanta Braves, who had drafted him; but the contract was voided by the NCAA and Baseball Commissioner William Eckert, and the Mets were awarded his signing rights in a lottery drawing among those teams willing to match the Braves' terms.

Rookie of the year

Seaver spent one season with the Jacksonville Suns of the Southern League, then joined New York in 1967. He won 16 games for the last place Mets, with 18 complete games and two shutouts, and was named the National League Rookie of the Year. In 1968 he won 16 games again, and recorded over 200 strikeouts for the first of nine consecutive seasons; but the Mets moved up only one spot in the standings.

The Amazin' Mets

In 1969, Seaver and the Mets completed a truly remarkable season, coming from nowhere to win their first World Series championship. Seaver won a league-high 25 games and his first National League Cy Young Award. At year's end, he was presented with both the Hickok Belt as the top professional athlete of the year and Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award.

On April 22, 1970, the day he received his Cy Young Award, Seaver set a modern major league record by striking out (the final) 10 consecutive San Diego Padres at Shea Stadium. He finished the game with 19 strikeouts to tie Steve Carlton's major league record.

Bye, bye, Big Apple

Seaver had three more twenty-win seasons and two more Cy Young Awards with the Mets before a very unpopular trade sent him to the Cincinnati Reds on June 15, 1977 for four players. He finished the 1977 season with 21 wins by going 14-3 with Cincinnati, including a 5-1 win over the Mets in his return to Shea Stadium. The following season, after throwing five one-hitters for New York, Seaver recorded a 4-0 no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 16, 1978 at Riverfront Stadium.

You can go home again

After the 1982 season, Seaver was traded back to the Mets, and on April 5, 1983, he tied Walter Johnson's major league record of 14 Opening Day starts, shutting out the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0. (He made two more with the Chicago White Sox in 1985 and 1986 for a record total of 16.)

300 wins

Seaver and the Mets were stunned on January 20, 1984 when he was claimed in a replacement draft by the Chicago White Sox. The team had assumed that no one would pursue a 39-year-old starting pitcher and left him off their protected list. Seaver pitched two and a half seasons in Chicago, winning his 300th game in New York against the Yankees on August 4, 1985, before ending his career with the Boston Red Sox. His last win came on August 18, 1986 against the Minnesota Twins. An ankle injury prevented him from appearing against the Mets in the World Series, and the Red Sox released him following the 1986 season. Seaver was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1992.

Hall of fame

Seaver was elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame on January 7, 1992 by receiving votes from 98.84% of the selection committee, the highest percentage ever. Since retirement, Seaver has been a television color commentator for the New York Yankees, NBC Sports and the Mets, a part-time scout, and a Spring training pitching coach.

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