Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tom Seaver turns 65

Mets pitcher Tom Seaver - aka The Franchise - turned 65 yesterday. I wrote a piece on the Faster Times about him. Although I was too young to remember Seaver's greatest moments as a Met, I do remember what a big deal it was in New York when he got traded. My brothers even wrote a sardonic banner about the trade for the Mets' Banner Day.

In addition, I remember how Seaver's 300th victory was overshadowed by a cow. Read my article for further details.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

1 comment:

Uncle Mike said...

One of the roughest weeks in the history of New York baseball: June 15 to 19, 1977. Tom Seaver gets stabbed in the back by Dick Young and exiled by M. Donald Grant, neither of whom was fit to shine his shoes, and the Yanks get swept by the Red Sox at Fenway at Billy Martin loses his mind at Reggie Jackson. It all worked out in the end... for Lisa's team, if not for Jon's.

August 4, 1985: I ordered the tickets for Phil Rizzuto Day on a Tuesday. On Wednesday, the White Sox announced that Tom Seaver and his 299 career wins were going to be taking the hill that Sunday.

The crowd was 54,032, and half of them were there to see Seaver get Number 300, chanting "Let's go M... " I can't type it, but they were chanting it the whole way. To make matters worse, the out-of-town scoreboard showed the other NY-Chicago game, as Dwight Gooden was striking out 16 Cubs at Wrigley.

I saw more fights in this game that at any sporting event I've ever been to -- and that includes Madison Square Garden, Fenway Park and the old Boston Garden. I was sitting in Section 35 in right field, and had a great view of the Bleachers. It really was the Bronx Zoo that day. This was also the peak era of British soccer hooliganism, and the Yankee Stadium Bleachers might as well have been the Shed End at Chelsea FC's Stamford Bridge in London. It was a war. Met fans hated us even then, and the predecessors of the modern Bleacher Creatures were happy to return the animosity.

But as usual, Seaver was more class than many of those cheering him on. Even though he was 40, he went the distance, and the bats of Winfield, Mattingly, Henderson, et al. never seriously threatened him. The last out was Don Baylor flying out to an otherwise-forgotten Reid Nichols in left field. White Sox 4, Yankees 1. All any of us could do was stand, applaud, and tip our caps to the best pitcher of his generation.

At least he wasn't pitching for Boston. (Yet. That happened the next year before he hung 'em up.)

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