It is a sad night in Flushing, with the announcement that Tom Seaver has died. The greatest player to ever wear the blue and orange was 75 years old. Multiple reports say he died from complications from dementia and coronavirus.
Of course, Seaver retired from public life in March 2019 when he revealed his struggles with dementia. His absence cast a pall on the 50th anniversary if the 1969 Miracle Mets last summer.
The Mets said in a statement 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.”
And baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said:
“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.”
Seaver is a legend here in New York, bursting onto the scene in 1967, winning Rookie of the Year. Two years later, he won his first of three Cy Young awards while leading the Mets to one of the most unlikely world championships in sports history.
He was traded to the Reds in 1977 after a dispute with management. He returned in 1983, but more mismanagement saw him unprotected in the free agent compensation pool, and the White Sox snapped him up. He fittingly won his 300th game in New York, except it was in a hideous White Sox uniform and it was in Yankee Stadium. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992. Seaver returned to the Mets yet again in 1999 as a broadcaster, leaving for the final time after the 2005 season.
So another piece — the biggest piece — of Mets history is gone.