Mets Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver died in the early hours of Monday, August 31, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced Wednesday. He was 75.
According to the Baseball Hall of Fame's release, Seaver died peacefully after complications with Lewy body dementia and COVID-19.
“We are heartbroken to share that our beloved husband and father has passed away,” his wife Nancy Seaver and daughters Sarah and Anne said in a statement to the Hall. “We send our love out to his fans, as we mourn his loss with you.”
Regarded as the greatest player in the history of the franchise, the Mets obtained the California native in a special draft lottery in 1966. In 1967, he took home the Rookie of the Year award, immediately impressing those with the franchise.
"When he showed up in 1967 [in the big leagues] he was the same guy," former Mets outfielder Ron Swoboda told Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci in an October 2019 profile of Seaver. "He was the same Hall of Fame guy, same stuff, same bearing on the mound. There was no break-in period. He came out of the box Tom Seaver."
Seaver later helped bring the Mets their first title in 1969, a year in which he earned the first of three NL Cy Young awards.
That season, Seaver was 25–7 with a 2.21 ERA.
From October 2019: Tom Seaver and the Enduring Hope of the 1969 Mets
As the Mets ran down the more seasoned Cubs in the NL East, Seaver went 10–0 with a 1.34 ERA in his last 11 starts. For his individual success and ability to turn around the success of the new franchise, he was named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year in 1969.
"When I came to the Mets," Seaver said to William Leggett in the 1969 SI profile, "there was an aura of defeatism on the team; a feeling of let's get it over with. I could not accept that."
Seaver made 12 All-Star teams through his 20-year MLB career. He led the NL in wins three times, ERA three times and strikeouts five times.
In 1992, he was elected to the Hall of Fame behind a 98.8% voting percentage, which at the time was the highest ever received.
“I never knew a pitcher with such great knowledge of pitching," Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench said of Seaver. "He had such a great mind, he could out-think the hitters.”
"Tom was nicknamed 'The Franchise' and 'Tom Terrific' because of how valuable he truly was to our organization and our loyal fans, as his No. 41 was the first player number retired by the organization in 1988," Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon said in a statement.
"...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."