Teams: New York Mets, 1967-1977, 1983; Cincinnati Reds, 1977-1982; Chicago White Sox, 1984-1986; Boston Red Sox, 1986
When Tom Seaver hung up his spikes
in 1986, his 3,640 career strikeouts
ranked him third on the all-time list.
Unlike most pitching greats, George Thomas Seaver (born in 1944) was a virtual nonentity in high school. Not until he had served a Marine hitch and enrolled at the University of Southern California did he first begin to attract the notice of major-league scouts. The Braves thought so highly of his collegiate mound work that they offered him a $40,000 bonus in 1966 to sign.
His contract with the Braves was voided, however, by commissioner William Eckert, who ruled that the rights to Seaver would go in a specially arranged lottery to any team that agreed to match or top the Braves' bonus offer. By the luck of the draw, the Mets won the privilege of signing Seaver for a $50,000 bonus.
Seaver was the Mets staff ace for 10 seasons. On three occasions (1969, 1973, and 1975) he won the Cy Young Award, and he twice hurled the Mets to a pennant. The team's second flag came in 1973 when Seaver earned his second Cy Young honor despite winning just 19 games, five fewer than Giants ace Ron Bryant. Seaver's stats in 1973 were bolstered, however, by both the NL ERA and strikeout crowns.
In all, Seaver paced the senior circuit five times in whiffs. The last occasion, in 1976, marked the ninth consecutive season in which Tom had fanned at least 200 hitters to set a major-league record.
During the 1977 season, Seaver was traded to Cincinnati to the shock of Mets fans. Although he twice led the NL in winning percentage, Seaver failed to bring the Reds a pennant. After six years in Cincinnati, he was reacquired by the Mets before the 1983 season.
At age 39, Tom seemed destined to finish his career as a Met. Instead, after one last season in New York, he was drafted by the White Sox when the Mets, thinking him too old to be at risk, did not put his name on their list of protected players.
Seaver won 31 games in his first two seasons in the AL. When he started poorly in 1986, he was dealt to Boston. He retired with a .603 career winning percentage, the highest of any 300-game winner in the past half-century. Seaver set another record in 1992 when he was named on 98.8 percent of the ballots.
Here are Tom Seaver's major league totals:
|W||L ||ERA ||G ||CG ||IP ||H ||ER ||BB ||SO |
|311||205 ||2.86||656||231 ||4,782.2||3,971||1,521||1,390||3,640|
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