(CBS Local)– Hall of Famer Tom Seaver was one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball history and a major reason why the New York Mets won the 1969 World Series. The man affectionately known as The Franchise passed away earlier this year at the age of 75 and his life and baseball career are the subject of a new book by Bill Madden from Simon & Schuster called “Tom Seaver: A Terrific Life.”
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Seaver is was one of only two pitchers in league history to win 300 games, strikeout 3,000 batters and have an ERA under 3.00. The 3x Cy Young Award winner played 20 season in the bigs, was an All-Star 12x and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992. The author Madden knew Seaver for decades and had to bump up the publication of his book after Seaver died this year.
“The book was originally supposed to come out next April at the start of the baseball season. At the time, the Mets were the laughing stock of baseball and they had never had a winning season,” said Madden, in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “Tom Seaver looked at it as a great opportunity because with the Mets he had an opportunity of getting to the majors sooner. When he arrived on the scene at Shea Stadium with his new team, he was really surprised at a negative culture that had developed there. Seaver said he couldn’t relate to this and that he had been a winner all of his life. He said he wasn’t going to start now with this losing team.”
While Sevaer had many great individual moments during his MLB career, the peak of his time as a MLB pitcher came when the Mets shocked the baseball world by winning the 1969 World Series. It’s been over 50 years and we are still talking about the Miracle Mets.
“There was no hint that this miracle was in the offing,” said Madden. “The Mets actually got off to a slow start in ’69. Then they started winning and started believing in themselves. Seaver believed in them all along. When he made those statements in 1967, he won the Rookie of the Year. He lived up to his words. This was a pitching rich team in 1969. The one thing you could see about this Mets team is that they were going to be better than they had been because of pitching. In midseason, they finally got a big bat when they acquired Don Clendenon to play first base. Seaver said that was the biggest thing about that year because they had never had that before.”
Madden’s book is available now wherever books are sold and watch all of DJ Sixsmith’s interviews from “The Sit-Down” series here.