Longtime big leaguer and Hall of Famer Tom Seaver died Monday, his family confirmed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was 75. Seaver’s family said he “passed peacefully in his sleep of complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19.”
“We are heartbroken to share that our beloved husband and father has passed away,” Seaver’s wife, Nancy, and daughters, Anne and Sarah, said in a statement. “We send our love out to his fans, as we mourn his loss with you.”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred released the following statement Wednesday night:
“I am deeply saddened by the death of Tom Seaver, one of the greatest pitchers of all-time. Tom was a gentleman who represented the best of our National Pastime. He was synonymous with the New York Mets and their unforgettable 1969 season. After their improbable World Series Championship, Tom became a household name to baseball fans – a responsibility he carried out with distinction throughout his life.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my condolences to Tom’s family, his admirers throughout our game, Mets fans, and the many people he touched.”
“Tom Seaver will be remembered as a fierce and gifted competitor, a Hall of Fame pitcher whose passion never wavered on or off the field,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a statement. “He was a strong and steady voice on behalf of his fellow players as the Mets’ player representative in the early days of the players association. We send our sympathies to his family, friends and legions of fans.”
Seaver pitched for 20 seasons in the big leagues from 1967-86 and was, quite simply, one of the greatest pitchers to ever live. He retired with a 311-205 record and a 2.86 ERA. Seaver broke in with the Mets (1967-77) and also played for the Reds (1977-82), Mets again (1983), White Sox (1984-86) and Red Sox (1986).
Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon released the following statements Wednesday night:
We are devastated to learn of the passing of Mets Legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. Tom was nicknamed “The Franchise” and “Tom Terrific” because of how valuable he truly was to our organization and our loyal fans, as his #41 was the first player number retired by the organization in 1988. He was simply the greatest Mets player of all-time and among the best to ever play the game which culminated with his near unanimous induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.
Beyond the multitude of awards, records, accolades, World Series Championship, All-Star appearances, and just overall brilliance, we will always remember Tom for his passion and devotion to his family, the game of baseball, and his vineyard.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Nancy, daughters Sarah and Anne and four grandsons, Thomas, William, Henry and Tobin.
“Tom Seaver was one of the best and most inspirational pitchers to play the game,” Reds CEO Bob Castellini said in a statement. “We are grateful that Tom’s Hall of Fame career included time with the Reds. We are proud to count his name among the greats in the Reds Hall of Fame. He will be missed.”
Seaver was named the NL Rookie of the Year after throwing 251 innings with a 2.76 ERA in 1967. He won three Cy Young awards (1969. 1973, 1975) and was selected to 12 All-Star Games. Seaver also finished second in the Cy Young voting in 1971 and 1981, and third in 1977. He was voted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 1992.
“Tom Seaver’s life exemplified greatness in the game, as well as integrity, character, and sportsmanship – the ideals of a Hall of Fame career,” said Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the Hall of Fame, in a statement. “As a longtime member of the Hall of Fame Board of Directors, Tom brought dignity and wisdom to this institution that will be deeply missed. His love for baseball history, and for the Hall of Fame, was reinforced in 2014, when he pledged the donation of his personal baseball collection to the Museum. His wonderful legacy will be preserved forever in Cooperstown.”
“Tom Terrific” is widely regarded as the greatest Mets player in history. He was the ace of the 1969 World Series champion Miracle Mets and he became the fifth pitcher in history to reach 3,000 career strikeouts in 1981. At the time of his retirement, Seaver owned the lowest career ERA in baseball history and the National League record for strikeouts (3,272).
Fellow Hall of Famer Henry Aaron once called Seaver “the toughest pitcher I ever had to face.”
Seaver was born in Fresno, California, and he played college baseball at the University of Southern California. He was drafted in the 10th round by the Dodgers in 1965 but did not sign. Seaver signed with the Braves as their first-round pick in 1966, but the contract was voided because he played two college exhibition games that year. The Mets were awarded Seaver’s rights through a lottery that was overseen by commissioner William Eckert.
The Mets retired Seaver’s No. 41 in 1988. He was the first player to wear a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque — Mike Piazza is the only other player to do so — and he took part in ceremonies to close Shea Stadium in 2008 and open Citi Field in 2009.
“Tom’s fierceness as a competitor was matched by his daily preparation and workout regimen,” added Tim Mead, president of the Hall of Fame. “Intelligent, passionate, disciplined, respectful and driven, he was as fine a pitcher as the game has seen.”
Following his playing career, Seaver worked as a television analyst covering the Mets and Yankees. He later started Seaver Vineyards near his home in California.