Tom Seaver, one of baseball’s greatest right-handed power pitchers, a Hall of Famer who won 311 games for four major league teams, most notably the Mets, whom he led from last place to a surprise world championship in his first three seasons, died on Monday. He was 75.
The cause was complications of Lewy body dementia and Covid-19, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, give or take a few, with a thick waist and tree-trunk legs that helped generate the velocity on his fastball and hard slider and the spin on his curveball, Seaver at work was a picture of kinetic grace. He had a smooth windup, a leg kick with his left knee raised high, and a stride so long after pushing off the mound that his right knee often grazed the dirt.
With precise control, he had swing-and-miss stuff. He struck out more than 200 batters in 10 different seasons, a National League record, and on April 22, 1970, facing the San Diego Padres, he struck out a record 10 batters in a row to end the game. His total of 3,640 strikeouts in his 20 big-league seasons is sixth on the all-time list.
He was also a cerebral sort, a thinker studied opposing hitters and pored over the details of each pitch — its break, its speed, its location. As he aged and his arm strength diminished, it was his strategic thinking and experience that extended his career.
Michael Levenson contributed reporting.