Ron Swoboda knew from the beginning the Mets had something exceptional.
At that point a third-year outfielder with the group, Swoboda watched Seaver pitch his first game for the Mets in 1967 and really wanted to wonder about the right-hander’s ability.
“When I saw him pitch the first occasion when, I said to myself, ‘He has Hall of Fame stuff,’ ” Swoboda said Wednesday, after it was reported the 75-year-old pitcher had passed on from confusions of dementia and COVID-19. “He simply needs to gather those numbers to get into the Hall.”
The Mets had been the fool of baseball in the five seasons before Seaver showed up, yet that was going to begin evolving.
“At the point when he went along with us as a newbie, he pitched like a 35-year-old,” Ed Kranepool said. “He had an incredible head on his shoulders. We turned into an alternate group when he strolled into the storage space in 1967.”
In a 20-year profession, Seaver dominated 311 games and three National League Cy Young honors. Yet, he will consistently be recognized as the focal point of the 1969 Miracle Mets, which stunned the Orioles in the World Series.
Seaver went 25-7 with a 2.21 ERA for that group to win the first of his Cy Young honors.
“Tom Seaver hated to lose,” catcher Jerry Grote said. “In May 1969 we had a festival in the storage space when we came to .500 just because. Tom stated, ‘We need more than .500, we need a title.’ “
In retirement, Seaver got adored by another age of Mets. He came back to the association for good as a telecaster in 1999 — following a spell in the Yankees TV stall — and later got obvious at the Mets’ particular occasions. Included was tossing the stately last pitch, to Mike Piazza, at Shea Stadium’s shutting in 2008. The following year Seaver tossed out the principal pitch to initiate Citi Field.
“I’ll generally love our companionship,” Piazza said. “Tom was continually pulling for me to get into the Hall. Two of my fondest recollections are leaving Shea Stadium after the last game and afterward when he tossed the stately first pitch to me at Citi Field the following year. He was stand-out.”
Seaver started pulling back from the spotlight in the most recent decade (his family uncovered a year ago that he had dementia), yet at the same time kept tabs with the association. Included was a relationship shaped with David Wright.
“Tom and I had an incredible relationship,” Wright said. “I think he saw a tad bit of himself in me, I was homegrown, much the same as he was. He called me every once in a while, yet we could never discuss baseball. We would discuss life.”