MLB Hall of Fame pitcher and former Trojan Tom Seaver died Monday from complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19. Nicknamed “Tom Terrific,” Seaver played a key role in helping the Mets win the 1969 World Series. He played 20 years in the major leagues, earning three Cy Young Awards and the 1967 National League Rookie of the Year.
After transferring to USC as a sophomore in 1965, Seaver pitched one season for the Trojans, posting a 10-2 mark with a 2.47 ERA and 100 strikeouts. Though the Mets signed Seaver in 1966, he returned to USC later in life and earned his communications degree in 1974.
He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 and elected into the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995.
“The Trojan Baseball Family lost one of our all-time greats in Tom Seaver,” USC baseball head coach Jason Gill said. “Growing up in Southern California, Tom was a childhood idol to me and many other kids in my era. He was a great example of what talent, hard work and passion for the game of baseball and life looked like for all of us. Tom represented the Trojan way and carried himself like a champion always.”
Seaver, a 12-time All-Star, led the National League in wins and ERA three times and strikeouts five times. He is one of two pitchers to amass 300 wins, 3,000 strikeouts and retire with a career ERA below 3.00.
Seaver played a pivotal role in the Mets’ 1969 World Series championship over the Baltimore Orioles. After giving up four earned runs in five innings in Game 1, Seaver threw a complete game in Game 4, allowing one earned run in ten innings of work. His Game 4 victory pushed the Mets to a 3-1 lead and set up their World Series win in Game 5.
“Tom was a gentleman who represented the best of our National Pastime,” Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “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.”
Seaver’s dominance on the pitching mound and passion for baseball earned recognition and respect from coaches, teammates, opponents and fans.
Former Mets pitcher Jerry Koosman took to Twitter, saying Seaver was “A great leader of our team. When he wasn’t pitching he was always there to help the other guys on the staff. He was a true professional.”
Seaver will be remembered for his dominant career and his legacy of greatness.
“He was simply the greatest Mets player of all-time, and among the best to ever play the game…” Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon wrote in their official statement on Seaver’s passing.
“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.”
The New York Mets have changed Citi Field’s street address to 41 Seaver Way, and there are plans to unveil a statue in honor of Seaver.