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THEY LIVED HERE - TOM SEAVER – QNS.com

THEY LIVED HERE – TOM SEAVER

There is nothing like baseball in New York. Star players have come and gone, but few have meant more to their franchise than Tom Seaver has to the Mets. Flushing was not only Seaver's site of pitching dominance, but it was his home.
George Thomas Seaver was born on November 17, 1944 in Fresno, California. He was the last of four children to Betty Lee and Charles Henry Seaver. Seaver's father was a talented football and basketball player at Stanford University as well as a two-handicap golfer. It was clear early in Seaver's life however that his passion was baseball.
At the age of twelve, Seaver was a Little League standout. As his team's ace pitcher, Seaver was also the league's best hitter with a .543 batting average. The transition to high school baseball however was difficult. Seaver struggled to make the team at Fresno High School because of his size.
He attended Fresno City College with hopes of catching the eyes of a major college scout but Seaver had to alter his plans as the Vietnam War began. He enlisted with the Marine Corps Reserves and served for six months before returning to Fresno.
From the Marine Corps training, Seaver noticed a difference in the strength of his arms and legs. He made the Fresno City team and won 11 games that year. Seaver displayed a unique combination of velocity and control which caught the attention of Rod Dedeaux, University of Southern California's baseball coach. Coach Dedeaux was so impressed with Seaver that he offered him a full scholarship.
While still at USC, Seaver was drafted by the Atlanta Braves at the age of 21. The Braves offered him a $53,000 deal; however, it was nullified by Baseball Commissioner William Eckert. Major league teams could not offer college players contracts once the college season was underway. Eckert made Seaver available to any team willing to match Atlanta's offer. The Mets, Phillies and Indians were all players in the Tom Seaver lottery, with the Mets eventually winning the rights to him. The move forever changed the fate of the franchise.
Seaver made his major league debut at Shea Stadium on April 13, 1967 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In a no decision, he pitched 5 and 1/3 innings giving up two runs while allowing six hits, four walks with eight strikeouts, and he also collected his first major league hit in the process. He was an immediate star in the league as he received Rookie of the Year honors and won 16 games; the Mets as a team won 61 games that season. As a member of the Mets, Seaver chose to live near the team. He lived on 215th Street in Bayside and on 60th Ave. in Flushing.
Seaver pitched in New York from 1967-1977. During his tenure with the Mets, he was considered one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball. He transformed a team of lovable losers into title contenders.
Over his career, he was a 13-time All-Star and a three-time Cy Young Award winner (1969, 1973 and 1975). He compiled a 311-205 record with a 2.86 ERA and 3,640 strikeouts. He is also credited with leading the Mets to a World Championship in 1969.
Seaver was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on August 2, 1992 with the highest vote percentage ever. Slugger Reggie Jackson said of Seaver, &#8220He's so good that blind people come to the park just to hear him pitch.”

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