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The Crimson King

RIP Tom Seaver

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This is the 4th time in my life that he made   me cry. The first was Jimmy Quals, second was the trade in 1977, the 3rd was his induction. I don’t think this will ever set in. Sorry, I can’t go on.

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Two pretty cool tributes to Tom that I read/heard yesterday. The first was from Jim Palmer, who closed with "baseball has lost the greatest pitcher of my era."  Wow!! The next was a tweet from Vin Scully, who said "Seaver was the best righty I ever saw." Double Wow!!!! It's been two days and I am still getting tears. Think this is going to be a very long mourning period for us all.

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49 minutes ago, The Crimson King said:

OK. last post on this thread and apologies for over sensitivity and pedanticism (that a word?)

My best friend and I became a Seaver fan for a simple reason. They traded Ron Hunt.

From '63 to '66, Hunt was all the Mets had that was not a punchline. He was not an all-time great but he was the only legitimate all-star (barely) that that ever had. As a kid, you needed to have a favorite player. No idea why, but we all did. 

'66 was a great year. For the first time, they didn't finish last and didn't lose 100. Hunt hit a lofty .288 and was once again an all-star after a lost year due to Phil Gagliano. Could 8th or 7th place even be possible?

 After the season, the unthinkable happened, Hunt was traded! How could that happen? For a gimpy over the hill player too. We were devastated. My parents reaction was shut up and do your homework. Well, the over the hill player hit .300 (and played for another decade or so), was traded for Tommie Agee and Hunt never did much other than get hit by pitches, so that actually worked out.

So we needed a new favorite player. Kranepool, Selma and Swoboda were around for a while already, so they couldn’t do. It needed to be a home grown fresh guy. That Derrell Harrelson shortstop looked promising but yeesh, he only weighed 105lbs. How would he ever last? There was a kid in A ball named Nolan Ryan who struck out 1.5 batters per game, but it would take too long for him to get here. Bill Denehy looked good with an ERA under 2 at AA. It required long and hard discussion. We settled on the guy from the AAA Jacksonville club.  He only had a .500 record and an ERA over 3 but he finished second in the league in strikeouts behind Tom Phoebus (now if they only had prospects like him!) so after much debate, this Seaver kid won out.

It was a school day in April that he made his debut after looking really good in spring training.  We jumped off the school bus and ran to the TV without changing out of our school clothes. All through junior high and high school we ran home on school days, missed family events on weekends and when old enough took the LIRR and 7 train to see him. In college, when everyone participated in a strike to protest the war, I snuck off alone to take 2 hours of subway to see him shutout the Cubs at Shea. It was a dedication that was well rewarded in entertainment.

You hear a lot about the Qualls game but there was one game he got even closer to that no hitter. It was 1975, late in the year in Chicago when only the most fanatic were still following the club. He got to 2 outs in the ninth when Joe Wallis check swung a ball out of the strike zone for a bloop hit.   

I have three favorite Seaver games. First was the 10 straight strikeout game that Koosman mentioned on last night’s broadcast. He just blew away the entire Padres lineup (and Al Ferrara twice) on fastballs. Most dominant I ever saw him. Second was the 1975 game he set the record for 200 straight strikeout seasons at a very loud sold out Shea. In the third, he wasn’t even a Met. It was the 1977 return to Shea game where he beat Koosman and were both on Kiner’s Korner after the game. Almost as emotional as yesterday.

Between Wednesday night and this morning I have had more texts and emails on one thing that I ever received. I heard from people I haven’t heard from in decades, many of which have no interest in sports. This is because I always used him as a superlative. The Tom Seaver of cars, the Tom Seaver of overdrive pedals, there was even a Tom Seaver of girls in Jr. High.

So thank you for indulging me here on the Tom Seaver of sports message boards. Howie Rose said it perfectly. This is the end of our childhood.

Thank you Commissioner Eckert

Love this(crying again)Please don’t stop. Just out of curiosity, did you guys pull for the Expos, not against us, of course. when Hunt went to them in the expansion draft?😎He was a good ball player. That Expo team wasn’t bad. They were a pain in our ass.

 

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