Good morning, Athletics Nation!
Major League Baseball lost an inner-circle legend this week, with news that Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver died on Monday at the age of 75.
Seaver passed away “peacefully at his home in Calistoga, California, from complications from Lyme disease, [Lewy body] dementia and COVID-19,” reports Bill Madden of Newsday. He had stepped back from public life in 2019 due to his battle with dementia.
For an idea of what Seaver meant to baseball, look no further than his nicknames, which included The Franchise as a nod to his still-active place as by far the best player in New York Mets history. When superstar NFL quarterback Tom Brady attempted to trademark the moniker Tom Terrific in 2019, the patent office said no because everyone knows that refers to Seaver.
The right-hander pitched 20 years in the majors, mostly for the Mets but also the Reds, White Sox, and briefly the Red Sox. He racked up 311 wins, a 2.86 ERA (127 ERA+), 106 bWAR, 92 fWAR, a no-hitter in 1978, and a total of 3,640 strikeouts that still ranks sixth on the all-time career list. He’s one of only 10 pitchers ever to win three Cy Young awards, and he added 12 All-Star berths. In 1969, at age 24, he led the Miracle Mets to one of the unlikeliest World Series titles in history, and finished runner-up for the NL MVP.
Among his notable records, Seaver once struck out 10 batters in a row, giving him 19 for that day’s contest overall (the 19 total were also a record at the time, but have of course been broken since then). What’s more, his streak only stopped at 10 because the game ended.
The Oakland A’s got a chance to face Seaver, in the days before regular season interleague play. When the A’s won their second straight championship in 1973, their opponent in the World Series was the Mets, and Seaver pitched twice — both strong efforts, but resulting in a loss and a no-decision when his teammates couldn’t score to support him.
One of those teammates in ‘73 was Willie Mays, who played for the Mets at the end of his own storied career.
Willie Mays calls Tom Seaver one of his favorite all-time teammates. Called him “Spanky.” I’d ask Willie about the Mets not retiring his number 24, and he’d change the subject to how he was thrilled Seaver’s 41 was retired. Thought the world of him.— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) September 3, 2020
The Baseball Hall of Fame accepted Seaver on his first ballot with 98.8% of the vote, which was tied with Nolan Ryan for the highest percentage ever until it was recently surpassed by Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and Ken Griffey Jr, thanks in part to significant changes in the voting process itself. The HOF offers some memorable quotes about Seaver, including this one from legendary catcher and Reds teammates Johnny Bench:
“I never knew a pitcher with such great knowledge of pitching. He had such a great mind, he could out-think the hitters.”
And from Seaver himself:
“I loved what I did. I loved 60 feet, six inches.”
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The A's are scheduled to play three doubleheaders in three different cities over a 7-day span from Sept. 8-14...are scheduled to play 10 games over that span, which are the A's most games over a 7-day stretch since June 16-22, 1966 when they also played 10 games in 7 days.— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) September 2, 2020
Didn’t post about this yet but will have a full story today
A's Liam Hendriks named American League Reliever of the Month for July-August. It is his second career monthly honor (June 2019). pic.twitter.com/6FNuJmSfXg— AthleticsPR (@AthleticsPR) September 2, 2020
Weird to see, but at least he gets a chance in the majors!
It’s new Angel Franklin Barreto. pic.twitter.com/Xy3XKoWfz4— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) September 3, 2020
... And he’s actually gonna play!
Franklin Barreto will be activated tonight, Joe Maddon said. Will play “literally everywhere” over the season’s final month.— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) September 2, 2020
There’s no way you haven’t been curious to finally see how this matchup will go
Madison Bumgarner will start Saturday against the Giants in San Francisco.— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) September 2, 2020
Relevant to A’s upcoming schedule
Dusty Baker said Jose Urquidy will come to Houston to throw a bullpen with hopes he starts one of the games of Saturday’s doubleheader— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) September 2, 2020
It’s like a Mad Lib of things that A’s fans don’t like very much
The Astros released Fernando Rodney. He had been at their alternate training site on a minor league deal.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) September 3, 2020
This is how you win Twitter for the day
0 times divorced, but if he keeps walking the lead-off batter, I’ll consider filing https://t.co/iAgvPcrazV— Sara Stock (@sara__stock) September 2, 2020
A rare bright spot in the awful year of 2020