I already knew the news when I picked up the Daily News 35 years ago today — Tom Seaver had been traded to the Reds. That Dave Kingman was also traded on that fateful day was just an afterthought. But just seeing it in the newspaper made it all too real.
It was up until that point the worst day in Mets history. Perhaps it still is. However it should be noted that Seaver forced the Mets hand after the team’s refusal to renegotiate his contract.
Considering that all of baseball knew the Mets had to trade Seaver, the Mets were in quite a corner. It was never revealed what other deals the Mets could have had, but in the end they were able to get back a halfway decent return for their star pitcher.
Pat Zachry was the main man in the deal — a 25-year-old pitcher coming off a Rookie of the Year season who had a lot of promise. He ended up pitching for the Mets for five and a half years, going 41-46 with a 3.63 ERA for some terrible Mets teams, even making the All-Star team in 1978.
Steve Henderson paid immediate dividends, coming right to the Mets from the minors and almost winning the 1977 rookie award. He would last three and a half solid if unspectacular seasons.
Doug Flynn was a no-hit, excellent field second baseman. He won a Gold Glove during his four and a half years with the Mets.
Dan Norman was a highly touted prospect who never panned out. He was later part of a trade for another disappointment, Ellis Valentine.
It’s impossible to call this a good trade, since the Mets lost their franchise player and got four non-superstars in return. But given the circumstances it was probably the best deal the Mets were going to get. Still though, it was a dark day that led to the darkest period in Mets history which only ended with the emergence of the great mid 1980s teams.