Tom Seaver, 74, Dementia; It Started As Lyme Disease

Hall of Famer “Tom Terrific” Diagnosed with Dementia; Will Retire from Public Life

“Considered by many baseball experts to be one of the best starting pitchers in the history of baseball.”

| Joseph Zucker, Bleacher Report

| March 7, 2019

NEW YORK – Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, 74, has been diagnosed with dementia.

Seaver will remain active at his personal vineyard “but has chosen to completely retire from public life.”

Seaver played 20 years in MLB, including 12 with the New York Mets.

The 12-time All-Star won the National League Cy Young Award in 1969, 1973 and 1975.

Seaver is the most legendary pitcher in Mets history. He’s first in ERA (2.57), wins (198), strikeouts (2,541), complete games (171) and shutouts (44).

Seaver was hospitalized for Lyme disease in 1991. How Long Does It Take For A Tick To Give You Lyme Disease?

A report in 2013 said that Seaver had been dealing with Lyme symptoms such as memory loss and speech problems.

Tom Seaver

George Thomas Seaver, nicknamed Tom Terrific and The Franchise, is a retired Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher. He pitched from 1967 to 1986 for four teams, but is noted primarily for his time with the New York Mets and especially for his important role in the team’s 1969 World Championship.

During a 20-year career, Seaver compiled 311 wins, 3,640 strikeouts, 61 shutouts and a 2.86 earned run average. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the highest percentage of votes ever recorded at the time.

Seaver won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1967, and he received three NL Cy Young Awards as the league’s best pitcher.

Seaver is the Mets’ all-time leader in wins, and he is considered by many baseball experts to be one of the best starting pitchers in the history of baseball.

Rookie of the Year

Seaver spent one season with the Jacksonville Suns of the International League, then joined the New York Mets in 1967. He won 16 games for the last-place Mets, with 18 complete games, 170 strikeouts, and a 2.76 earned run average (ERA), all Mets records to that point, and was named the National League Rookie of the Year.

He was also named to the 1967 All-Star Game, and got the save by pitching a scoreless 15th inning. In 1968, he won 16 games again, and recorded over 200 strikeouts for the first of nine consecutive seasons, but the Mets moved up only one spot in the standings, to ninth.

1969 championship season

In 1969, Seaver won a league-high 25 games and his first National League Cy Young Award. He also finished runner-up to Willie McCovey for the League’s Most Valuable Player Award. MLB Great Willie McCovey, 80, Dies of Infection

In front of a crowd of over 59,000 at New York’s Shea Stadium on July 9, Seaver threw 8 1/3 perfect innings against the division-leading Chicago Cubs. Rookie backup outfielder Jimmy Qualls broke up Seaver’s bid for a perfect game when he lined a clean single to left field.

In the 1969 National League Championship Series, Seaver outlasted Atlanta’s Phil Niekro in the first game a 9–5 victory. Seaver was also the starter for Game One of the 1969 World Series, but lost a 4–1 decision to the Baltimore Orioles’ Mike Cuellar. Seaver then pitched a 10-inning complete game for a 2–1 win in Game Four. The Mets won the series.

At year’s end, Seaver was presented with the Hickok Belt as the top professional athlete of the year and Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Sportsman of the Year” award.

Born: November 17, 1944 (age 74), Fresno, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 13, 1967, for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
September 19, 1986, for the Boston Red Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 311–205
Earned run average 2.86
Strikeouts 3,640
New York Mets (1967–1977)
Cincinnati Reds (1977–1982)
New York Mets (1983)
Chicago White Sox (1984–1986)
Boston Red Sox (1986)
12× All-Star (1967–1973, 1975–1978, 1981)
World Series champion (1969)
3× NL Cy Young Award (1969, 1973, 1975)
NL Rookie of the Year (1967)
3× NL wins leader (1969, 1975, 1981)
3× NL ERA leader (1970, 1971, 1973)
5× NL strikeout leader (1970, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1976)
Pitched a no-hitter on June 16, 1978
New York Mets No. 41 retired
New York Mets Hall of Fame
Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction 1992
Vote 98.8% (first ballot)

Continued excellence

On April 22, 1970, Seaver set a major league record by striking out the final 10 batters of the game in a 2–1 victory over the San Diego Padres at Shea Stadium. Al Ferrara, who had homered in the second inning for the Padres’ run, was the final strikeout victim of the game.

In addition to his 10 consecutive strikeouts, Seaver tied Steve Carlton’s major league record, at the time, with 19 strikeouts in a nine-inning game. The Mets also won the game in which Carlton struck out 19, with Carlton victimized by Ron Swoboda’s pair of 2-run homers in a 4–3 Mets victory in St. Louis on September 15, 1969. (The record was later eclipsed by 20-strikeout games by Kerry Wood, Randy Johnson, Max Scherzer, and twice by Roger Clemens.)

By mid-August, Seaver’s record stood at 17–6 and he seemed well on his way to a second consecutive 20-victory season. But he only won one of his last ten starts, including four on short rest, to finish 18–12. Nonetheless, Seaver led the National League in both ERA and strikeouts.

Seaver at Shea Stadium, 1974.

In 1971, Seaver led the league in ERA (1.76) and strikeouts (289 in 286 innings) while going 20–10. However, he finished second in the Cy Young balloting to Ferguson Jenkins of the Chicago Cubs, due to Jenkins’ league-leading 24 wins, 325 innings pitched, and exceptional control numbers.


Seaver had four more twenty-win seasons (20 in 1971, 21 in 1972, 22 in 1975, and 21 in 1977) (seven wins for the Mets, then 14 more after being traded to the Reds). He won two more Cy Young Awards (1973 and 1975, both with the Mets).

During his tenure with the Mets, Seaver made 108 starts in which he pitched 9 or more innings and allowed 1 run or less. His record in those starts is 93–3 with 12 no-decisions. In seven of the 12 no-decisions, he pitched 10 or more innings. In the 12 no-decisions, he pitched a total of 117 innings, allowing 56 hits and 5 earned runs, compiling a 0.38 ERA.

Between 1970 and 1976, Seaver led the National League in strikeouts five of the seven seasons, finishing second in 1972 and third in 1974. Seaver also won three ERA titles as a Met. Two famous quotes about Seaver are attributed to Reggie Jackson: “Blind men come to the park just to hear him pitch.”

The second was that, while pitching for the Mets during the 1973 World series, 6th game, with the Mets up 3 games to 2, and so poised to win their second Championship, with Mr. Seaver scheduled to start. He did, but did not have his “arm” that day, his arm strength, that is, and the opposing team knew it. Seaver would go on to start and lose the 6th game… Mr. Jackson is reported to have said “Seaver pitched with his heart that day.” Seaver was perhaps the foremost latter-day exponent of “drop and drive” overhand delivery, but his powerful legs protected his arm, and ensured his longevity.

Midnight Massacre

By 1977, free agency had begun and contract negotiations between Mets ownership and Seaver were not going well. Seaver wanted to renegotiate his contract to bring his salary in line with what other top pitchers were making, but chairman of the board M. Donald Grant, who by this time had been given carte blanche by Met management to do what he wished, refused to budge. Longtime New York Daily News columnist Dick Young regularly wrote negative columns about Seaver’s “greedy” demands.

As for Seaver, he attempted to resolve the impasse by going to then-team owner Lorinda de Roulet, who along with then-GM Joe McDonald, had negotiated in principle a three-year contract extension by mid-June.

But before the contract could be signed, Young wrote an unattributed story in the Daily News claiming that Seaver was being goaded by his wife to ask for more money because she was jealous of the fact that Nolan Ryan was making more money with the California Angels. Upon being informed of the story, Seaver informed de Roulet that he immediately wanted out, and asked McDonald to immediately trade him, feeling that he could not co-exist with M. Donald Grant.

In one of two trades that New York’s sports reporters dubbed “the Midnight Massacre” (the other involved struggling outfielder Dave Kingman), Seaver was traded to the Cincinnati Reds on June 15, 1977 (the trading deadline for that year) for pitcher Pat Zachry, minor league outfielder Steve Henderson, infielder Doug Flynn, and minor league outfielder Dan Norman. Seaver would go 14–3 with Cincinnati and win 21 games that season, including an emotional 5–1 win over the Mets in his return to Shea Stadium. Seaver struck out 11 in the return, and also hit a double.

Seaver, who was immensely popular in New York, also received a lengthy ovation at the 1977 All-Star Game, which was held in New York’s Yankee Stadium. His departure from New York sparked sustained negative fan reaction, as the Mets became the league’s worst team, finishing in last place the next 3 seasons. Combined with the Yankees’ resurgence in the market, attendance dipped in 1978, and plunged in 1979 to 9,740 per game. M. Donald Grant was fired after the 1978 season, and Joe McDonald was fired after the 1979 season following a sale of the team to publishing magnate Nelson Doubleday, Jr.. In a sardonic nod to the general manager, Shea Stadium acquired the nickname “Grant’s Tomb”.

Cincinnati Reds

After having thrown five one-hitters for the Mets, including two games in which no-hit bids were broken up in the ninth inning, Seaver recorded a 4–0 no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 16, 1978 at Riverfront Stadium. It was the only no-hitter of his professional career.

Seaver had a 75–46 record with Cincinnati. He led the Cincinnati pitching staff in 1979, when the Reds won the Western Division, and again in the strike-shortened 1981 season, when the Reds had the best record in the major leagues. In the latter season, Seaver, with his sterling 14–2 performance, was a close runner-up to Fernando Valenzuela for the 1981 Cy Young Award. (Seaver had finished third and fourth in two other previous years.) In 1981, during one of his 2 losses, Seaver recorded his 3,000th strikeout. After recording his 3000th, he took himself out of the game, walking off the mound to a standing ovation. He suffered through an injury-ridden 1982 campaign, finishing 5–13.

Return to New York

On December 16, 1982, Seaver was traded back to the Mets, for Charlie Puleo, Lloyd McClendon, and Jason Felice. On April 5, 1983, he tied Walter Johnson’s major league record of 14 Opening Day starts, shutting out the Philadelphia Phillies for six innings in a 2–0 Mets win. He had a 9–14 record that season. The Mets exercised an option on Seaver’s contract worth $750,000 for the 1984 season.

300 wins

On January 20, 1984, the Chicago White Sox claimed Seaver from the Mets in a free-agent compensation draft. The Mets, especially GM Frank Cashen, had incorrectly assumed that no one would pursue a high-salaried, 39-year-old starting pitcher, and left him off the protected list. Faced with either reporting to the White Sox or retiring, Seaver chose the former. The result for the Mets was an opening in the starting rotation that allowed Dwight Gooden to be part of the team.

Seaver pitched two and a half seasons in Chicago and recorded his last shutout on July 19, 1985 against the visiting Indians. In an anomaly, Seaver won two games on May 9, 1984; he pitched the 25th and final inning of a game suspended the day before, picking up the win in relief against the Milwaukee Brewers, before starting and winning the day’s regularly scheduled game, also facing the Brewers.

On August 4, 1985, Seaver recorded his 300th victory at Yankee Stadium against the Yankees, throwing a complete game 4–1 victory.



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