Nov 18, 2019

Seth Lugo: 2019 Mets Top Reliever (2016-2019)

Jacob Seth Lugo was born November 17th, 1989 in Shreveport Louisiana. The six foot four, right handed Lugo attended Centenary College at Louisiana where he was studying to be a landman, majoring in geology. He was also a punter for his high school football team & a soccer goalie as well.

He was spotted by Mets scout Jimmy Nelson in the deep South & got an invite for a try out. The six foot four, right handed pitcher signed out of a Division 3 School (Centenary College of Louisiana) where he was signed in the 34th round of the 2011 draft, the 1032nd pick overall.

In 2011 he was diagnosed with Spondylolisthesis which is a displacement of vertebra in the spine, it required ten hours of surgery for repair. After the procedure he was bed ridden for three months & recuperated at his mothers home.

Quotes: Lugo when he found out about the surgery- "Whoa. Hold on, I don't know if I want to do this. They kind of just reassured me it was a precaution they have to tell everyone. But that was the only time it really hit me that, whoa, this is a lot more serious than I thought."

As he recovered he could barely move for three months of bed rest. He missed all of the 2012 season & came back with a new focus. In 2013 he pitched at A ball Brooklyn going 2-4 for the Cyclones, before getting promoted to A ball Savannah.

In 2014 he was 8-3 with three saves, striking out 114 batters in 105 innings posting a 4.11 ERA with the A ball St. Lucie Mets. He became a promising young pitcher despite his odds to make it. 

He got promoted to the AA Binghamton Mets in 2015, going 6-5 with a 3.80 ERA. He struck out  97 batters & walked 30 in 109 innings pitched finishing 19 games for the AA Mets. 

He was promoted to AAA Las Vegas going 2-2 with a 4.00 ERA for the 51s. He was invited to the 2016 Mets Spring Training.

He started the year at AAA Las Vegas, not having a very good year. He went 3-4 with a 6.50 ERA, striking out 62 batters in 73 innings of work. The Mets still promoted him to the majors on June 30th.

He was sent back down on July 2nd, but returned four days later when Matt Harvey went down for the season. Lugo would pitch in relief until mid August when he turned his season around & helped the Mets capture the NL's top wild card spot. He had taken a relief loss in the subway series giving up a 10th inning run, and then took a loss in his first start which came in San Francisco against the Giants.

On August 25th, he helped the Mets sweep the Cardinals, which was the start of their wild card demise. He shut out St. Louis for five innings striking out five, before leaving the game with muscle cramps. He still went on to earn his first win. In his next start he beat the Miami Marlins at Citi Field to get to 2-2.

On September 4th, he pitched seven innings allowing just one run beating the Washington Nats at Citi Field 5-1.  He followed that with a September 11th win at Atlanta beating the Braves & getting his record to 4-2, while lowering his ERA to 2.40.

He pitched well in his next two starts in whish the Mets won & closed out his season with a big win in Miami Florida, beating the Marlins on September 28th, allowing two runs in 5.1 innings while striking out just two & walking three.

Lugo was scheduled to pitch the  NLDS, but the Mets lost the Wild Card game ending their season. Lugo was a big surprise in the Mets rotation, helping them catch the wild card spot. He went 5-2 with a 2.67 ERA, striking out 45 batters & walking 21 in 64 innings pitched in 17 games.

Entering the 2017 season, Lugo was up against Robert Gsellman for the fifth starters spot. All that was soon to change. Lugo pitched for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, there he suffered an injury to his ulnar collateral ligament, missing the first two months of the season.

He joined the club on July 11th in Atlanta. There he pitched seven solid innings, allowing just one run striking out six Braves, in a Mets 2-1 win. In his next start he allowed three runs to the Nats as he & the Mets took a 7-4 loss.
Lugo then won two more games beating the Giants in San Francisco & the Marlins in South Florida.

On the 4th of July he allowed six runs on ten hits to the Nationals in D.C taking his second loss. That earned his a sting of relief on July 9th in a 6-0 Mets loss in St. Louis.

First Career HR: On Saturday July 15th, he hit his first career HR in a game he won against the  Colorado Rockies. As he entered the dugout, the team jokingly ignored him before eventually mobbing to congratulate him.

That was followed by a no decision against the St. Louis Cardinals where allowed just one run in 6.2 innings of work. The Mets won the game 3-2. His next start came in San Diego, it wasn't too strong but earned him his 5th win (5-2).

On July 30th, he took a loss in Seattle as the Mariners trounced the Mets 9-1. In August he had three no decisions & once again went on the DL.

In September he returned to a beaten Mets staff, taking a loss against the Houston Astros, allowing four runs in five innings in his return from the DL. On September 8th, he beat the Cincinnati Reds shutting them out for six innings. In his next start the Cubs rocked him for eight runs at Wrigley Field.

On September 25th he won his seventh game to end the year at 7-5 with 1 4.71 ERA, striking out 85 batters walking 25 in 101 innings of work in 119 games.

Lugo started out the 2018 season with a hold in the Mets fourth game of the season, helping Matt Harvey in a 2-0 win. 

On April 8th he held the Nats down for three innings, earning a win in D.C. after Yoenis Cespedes singled the winning run in, in the top of the 12th. He would earn three more holds before blowing a game & taking a loss on May 28th In Atlanta.

Subway Series: On June 10th he got the start & earned a win in the subway series, striking out eight while pitching six shut out innings, with just two hits allowed. He would start four games in the month, to help an injured staff, but took two losses.

In July he was back in the bullpen & quickly earned a Fourth of July win in relief in Toronto. In August he earned his first save of the year, he earned two more in September to go along with his 11 holds on the year.

In 54 appearances (third most on the club) he made 5 starts, he was 3-4 with three saves & 13 games finished. He struck out 103 batters in 101 innings (5th most on the staff) while walking 28.

2019 Season: Lugo was to be an important part of the Mets bullpen in 2019. He filled in as a set up man, middle reliever & eventually closer, becoming one of the most important as well as popular Mets players.

He earned holds in the first two games of the season. On April 19th, he earned his first win pitching the 5th & 6th innings at St. Louis. On May7th he got win #2 at San Diego.

In June he did earn his third win & lowered his ERA to 2.23 by June 21st. But you could also say, he had his worst month, two blown saves & two blown losses in the month had his ERA go to 3.60 by July 1st. He also had 11 holds to that point.

By July he was coming into his own, becoming the teams best reliever. He won the NL Reliever of the Month Award, an award he said he didn't even know existed. In 13 innings he allowed no runs & just three hits while striking out 16 batters walking just one. 

On July 2nd, he earned a win, which came in the subway series. On July 26th, he recorded his fist save of the season, it came during the Mets seven game win streak.

With high priced closer, Edwin Diaz struggling, Lugo's name kept coming up as his replacement. Lugo also collected six holds in July, giving him a total of 17.

As the Mets winning streak continued they fund them selves in the wild card race. On August 5th, he collected his second save, in a 5-4 win over the Marlins at home. In an exciting Citi Field win over the Nationals, he earned the victory when Luis Guillimore tied the game with a HR & JD drove in the winning run on a sac fly.

His worst outing came on August 14th in Atlanta. He allowed five runs in less than inning of work in a Mets loss. But after that Lugo did not allow a run for nearly a month, from August 16th to September 15th, collecting three more saves & two more wins. Since the All Star break he was 2-1 with five saves & a 1.86 ERA, before giving up a run to lose a September 15th game, against the LA Dodgers.

Three days later he earned another win, pitching two scoreless innings in Colorado. On September 27th, his last outing of the year he collected his sixth save.

For 2019, he was 7-4 with six saves, 21 holds & a 2.70 ERA. He struck out 104 batters, most of any Met reliever, walking 16 batters in 80 innings, in 61 appearances (3rd most on the club).

With all of his successes, Lugo still would prefer to be a starter.

In his five year career, he is 22-15 with 9 saves & a 3.27 ERA, with 337 Ks 90 walks in 346 innings in 151 appearances.

Family: Seth married Amanda Vogle in January 2018.

Damion Easley: Late 2000's Mets Utility Player (2007-2008)

Jacinto Damion Easley was born in the Bronx, New York on November 11, 1969. The family soon moved to Mt. Vernon, New York just over the Bronx border. 

When his parents divorced he moved out to California with his father & he then attended Long Beach State University. There he got drafted by the local California Angels way down in the 30th round in 1988.

By 1992 he hit .289 at AAA Edmonton in the Pacific Coast League getting the call up to the Angels team. He was a utility infielder for the Angels from 1992-1996 hitting a best .313 in 73 games in 1993. In 1994 he struggled batting just .214 in 88 games. 

In 1995 he saw a lot more playing time, a career high 114 games but struggled again, batting just .216. In July of 1996 he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Greg Gohr.

In Detroit he became the Tigers regular second baseman. He also played short stop stop, third base & DH in his time there. He turned his career around, with three 20 plus HR seasons, & three 30 plus doubles seasons. 

In 1997 he hit 22 HRs with 72 RBIs posted a .362 on base percentage while scoring 97 runs & stole 28 bases.

In 1998 he had his best year making the All Star team & even participated in the HR derby. He had career highs in hits (166) HRs (27) RBIs (100) & doubles (38). He would spend six seasons in Detroit averaging around a .255 batting average. In 2000 he led all AL second baseman in fielding after coming in second the two previous years.

In Detroit he set a Tiger record at second base with 99 consecutive errorless games. He signed a two year deal with the Florida Marlins in 2004, but never matched his numbers he reached in Detroit. Easley hit a best .240 with 9 HRs in 2005 playing in 102 games. He moved on to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006 batting .233.

Mets Career: In 2007 he signed on with the New York Mets as a free agent. He certainly proved to be a pleasant surprise, giving it 100% everyday in a Mets uniform. 

On the field he was the ultimate all around player, playing every position except catcher in his two seasons in New York.

 Easley debuted as a Met on April 9th as a pinch hitter gong 0-1. On April 24th he hit a HR in the bottom of the 11th inning tying a game against the Colorado Rockies. The Mets went on to win it 2-1.

Easley seemed to made the best of his chances when he got to start & kept doing all the little things when he got that chance. On May 3rd he hit a three run HR against the Arizona Diamond backs in a 9-4 win at Arizona.

 On May 13th he had three hits with another HR & four RBIs in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Shea Stadium. On August 2nd he became the 24th Met in history to hit an inside the park HR. It came in the top of the 6th inning in a game against the Brewers in Milwaukee of pitcher Cris Capuano.

Later that month he injured his ankle in an ugly incident while sliding into second base in a game at Washington against the Nationals. The painful injury cost him the rest of the season, and it was a big blow to the Mets playoff hopes as well. 

Overall for 2007 he batted .280 in 76 games, hitting 10 HRs with 6 doubles 26 RBIs, 24 runs scored 24 runs & a .358 on base % in just 193 at bats.

He got more playing time in 2008 batting .266 with 6 HRs 10 doubles 44 RBIs & a .322 on base % in 113 games.

 On June 3rd he had a three hit day in San Francisco, hitting a 5th inning bases clearing double helping the Mets in a 6-3 win. On June 18th he hit a HR in the top of the 10th inning off Justin Speier to beat the Anaheim Angels 5-4. In the first week of July he drove in seven runs in the midst of a ten game hitting streak. In the month he had 15 RBIs, with two separate three RBI games.

That month he was seeing steady playing time due to all the Mets injuries. On August 12th he was hit by apitch in the top of the 8th inning with the bases loaded. David Wright scored from third base with the games winning run to beat the Washington Nationals.

The next night Easley drove in two more runs & had two more multi RBI games that month. On top of his hard play, Easley was an all around good guy and got the job done quietly. He wasn’t resigned for 2009 & retired at the end of the year.

In seventeen MLB seasons Easley batted .253 with 1386 hits, 163 HRs, 287 doubles, 735 runs scored, posted a .329 on base % & had 684 RBIs in 1706 games played. He is 36th All Time getting hit by pitches with 132 & was in the league’s top ten in that category six times.

Trivia: During his long playing career he never reached the post season. As an active player Easley had played in the most games since the 1994 wild card playoff era without reaching the post season. Since then the record has been broken.

Humor: On a funny note Easley shows a striking resemblance to Popeye’s cartoon pet dog- Jeep.(without the nose)

Retirement: Since his retirement, Easley has coached in the San Diego Padre organization.

Nov 17, 2019

Mets Hall of Fame Pitcher: Tom Seaver (Part Two)- the Seventies

As Tom Seaver entered the seventies he only seemed to get better. After a rough Opening day start he went on to begin the year at 6-0. 

On April 22nd 1970 (the first recognized Earth Day) Seaver received his Cy Young Award at a pre game ceremony at Shea Stadium. He went out & took the mound making baseball history as he tied an MLB record by striking out 19 San Diego Padres. He also set a record by striking out the final ten batters of the game, while retiring the last 16 in a row. On the day he only allowed one run on two hits while walking two batters.

On May 15th in Philadelphia, Seaver had another spectacular day. He tossed his second career one hitter, as he struck out 15 Phillies. This time the only hit came in third inning off a forgotten player named Mike Compton. He bested his record to 7-1 after a 6-0 start.

In June he began another great stretch winning nine straight decisions, going two full months without taking a loss. In that stretch he threw 10 complete games, tossed three separate three hitters & one shut out. He got to start the 1970 All Star Game in Cincinnati for his manager Gil Hodges, pitching three shut out innings, striking out four while only allowing one hit.

 The rest of the year didn’t go as well as 1969; the Mets & Seaver both struggled as he lost six of his last seven decisions. He finished the year at 18-12 leading the league in strikeouts (283) & ERA (2.82). He pitched 290 innings with 19 complete games & two shut outs.

Quotes: One of the most famous quotes about Seaver is comes from Pete Rose, who once said: "Blind men come to the park just to hear him pitch”.

In 1971 Seaver earned the victory on Opening Day, although he only pitched five innings. In his second start he threw nine shutout innings but got no decision. He threw a three hit shutout in his next start against Pittsburgh at Shea Stadium & began the year at 4-0. 

By the end of June he was 10-3 with a 2.03 ERA, but then he lost four straight. He made the All Star team but did not pitch in the 1971 classic. By this time he already had five multiple strike out games & allowed one run or less seven times. After the break he got even better, striking out 10 or more batters eight more times on his way to a league leading, career best 289 strikeout seasons.

From August through the end of the season he was 9-2, with ten complete games; including a two hit shutout in Montreal, striking out 12 Expos. On Sunday September 24th Seaver took the mound against the eventual World Champion Pirates & once again flirted with a no hitter. It wasn’t until the 7th inning when Vic Davillio singled breaking up the no hitter. Seaver struck out 10 & walked one earning his 19th victory. He finished the year off with his 20th win four days later against the Cardinals.

He wrapped up 1971 with a 20-10 record, leading the league in strike outs posting a career high 289. He also posted his career best ERA leading the league at 1.76. He was runner up to the Cy Young Award, pitching a career high 21 complete games with four shutouts in 286 innings. The Mets finished third 14 games out.

Seaver’s hitting cannot be left out, as he was a fine hitting pitcher. He hit a HR every year from 1970-1973, including three in 1972. He posted 10 RBIs in 1970, with 17 hits good for a .179 average. In 1971 he had career highs in average (.198) hits (18) & doubles (3) driving in seven runs. 

He had at least three runs batted in every season he pitched in New York in the seventies. He hit over .100 every year he played with the Mets except for 1974 when he hit .099 & 1976 batting .085.

During Spring Training 1972 Gil Hodges suffered a fatal heart attack just before the start of the season. The team was devastated, Seaver remarked “Gil is here inside each man, & will be here all season. The man made a terrific impact on the whole ball club.” Seaver then went out & won on Opening Day, after Hodges was honored in a pre game ceremony retiring his number.

He started out the year again at 4-0, then after a loss won three more straight games. On the 4th of July he pitched another memorable game for the Shea fans. He struck out 11 Padres and had a no hitter going into the 9th inning. This time it was Leron Lee who spoiled it, as Seaver went onto toss his fourth career one hitter, besting his record to 10-4 with an ERA under two.

The rest of the way he was 10-8 putting in a strong September finish winning his last four games. He struck out 15 Pirates on September 20th at Shea, the nine days later in Pittsburgh; he struck out 13 more Pirates while tossing a two hit shutout. 

He finished the year 21-12 (second most wins in the NL) striking out 249 batters (also second in the NL) with a 2.92 ERA, 13 complete games with three shutouts in 262 innings pitched. It was the first time in four years he did not lead the league in any major pitching category. Seaver still had the best strikeout per nine innings ratio in the league, for the third straight year.

In 1973 Seaver began the year with a five hit shut out on Opening Day against the Phillies & winning his second start in St. Louis. He took two losses following that & then won his next five starts, all complete games, only allowing more than two runs (3) one time.

 He started out June winning the NL Pitcher of the Week Award. At the All star break he was 11-5 with a 2.02 ERA among the top in strikeouts as well. In the All Star Game he pitched a scoreless bottom of the 8th inning in the NL’s 7-1 victory.

He won 6 of 7 decisions from July to mid August before losing two straight, including a two run 12 innings no decision performance against the Reds. He also tossed his second two hitter of the year, that August in San Diego. In early September, Seaver beat the Phillies twice, both times pitching complete games. The second win was an 11 inning performance, in those two games he allowed only three runs in 20 innings striking out 25 batters. In the September pennant run he was 4-2, and pitched won two of the biggest games in the race toward the end of the season.

On September 21st he beat the Pirates at Shea putting the Mets into first place, & then on October 1st he beat the Cubs on a rainy cold Wrigley Field to clinch the NL East. He pitched six innings before running out of gas in the 6-4 Mets win, as Tug McGraw closed out the season with the win.

He finished the year winning his second Cy Young Award while leading the league in ERA (2.08) strike outs (251) & complete games (18). He went 19-10 (2nd most wins in the NL) with 3 shut outs in 290 innings pitched (3rd in the NL).

Post Season: In the 1973 NLCS opener Seaver got the ball on only four days rest. He pitched a fine game making only one mistake that cost him, as Johnny Bench hit a walk off HR in the bottom of the 9th for the 2-1 win. Seaver had set a NLCS record by striking out 13 batters in the 2 run, six hit performance. 

He came back to Shea to pitch the final Game #5 with everything on the line. Tom Terrific was masterful again, shutting down the Big Red Machine, allowing only two runs on seven hits while striking out four. Tug McGraw saved it in the 9th and the Mets clinched the pennant and were on to the World Series.

In the World Series Tom pitched Game 3, the first game of the Series at Shea Stadium. The stage was set for a classic, in a pitching matchup against Hall of Famer Jim Catfish Hunter. Both were tough & in the end neither pitcher got a decision in the eleven inning Oakland win. Seaver pitched 8 innings as his fastball was impressive to the national TV audience, as he struck out 12 A’s, allowing two runs on seven hits. He struck out the side twice, including five of the first six batters he faced & had at least one strikeout in all but the 3rd inning.

On just three days rest he was called on by manager Yogi Berra to pitch Game #6. This was a controversial decision, since George Stone (14-4 on the regular season) had not started a game in the whole Series. 

In Berra’s defense Seaver as the best pitcher in baseball, but he had to be a bit tired having thrown over 300 innings up to this point. Seaver struggled a bit not having his best stuff, but he pitched with all his heart in the 3-1 Mets loss.

He only allowed three runs on six hits with six strikeouts in seven innings. The Mets bats didn’t help him at all, as Catfish Hunter& Rollie Fingers shut them down. He was praised by Series MVP Reggie Jackson after the game, saying Sever didn’t have any stuff like he had in New York the other night. He gave his team all he had by pitching on heart. Jackson said “I have all the respect in the World for Tom Seaver”.

From 1970 through 1974 he had the best strike out per nine inning ratio in the league every season. As the NL Champion Mets entered 1974 things were promising. The staff was one of baseballs best anchored by Seaver, then followed by the two lefties Jerry Koosman & Jon Matlack.The staff was mentored by long time Mets pitching coach Rube Walker. 

Seaver got no decision on Opening day and then a bad back began to affect his pitching mechanics. He didn’t get his first win until the end of April & by the middle of June the reigning Cy Young winner was 3-6 with a 3.60 ERA & the Mets were in the cellar, eight games back. It was the first time he did make the All Star Game since he entered the big leagues.

Things got a bit better as he won four in a row in July & then again at the end of August to mid September. The back issues kept coming back & the Mets fell to 5th place finish. Seaver posted his worst record to date 11-11 & it was the first time his ERA was over three (3.20). He still struck out 201 batters pitched 230 innings with 12 complete games & five shutouts. His strikeout to walk ratio was also tops in the league for the second straight year.

Seaver won on Opening Day 1975, but still started out the year at 3-3. It wasn’t until June when Tom Terrific returned to top form. He sure rebounded when he was healthy again as his mechanics returned to give him his perfect delivery motion. 

He was the Player of the Week in early June & won the Pitcher of the Month Award as well. From the end of May to mid July he was 8-0 throwing two shut outs & five complete games. He went to his 8th All Star game with a 13-5 record and a 1.93 ERA. In the All Star game he blew a 3-0 NL lead by allowing a 3 run HR to Carl Yastrzemski in the 6th inning. The NL rallied & fellow Met Jon Matlack went on to earn the win & the co MVP Award.

On August 7th, Seaver pitched a three hit shutout against the Expos at Shea & went on a roll from there. He went on to win seven straight, throwing two more shut outs along the way, with two ten strike out performances. The Mets were 73-66 only five games out in early September but faded down the stretch, Seaver was 1-2 with two no decisions in that time.

For 1975 Seaver led the league in victories going 22-9 with a .719 winning %, he once again led in strikeouts (251) while setting a record as being the only pitcher to have eight straight 200 plus strikeout seasons. He posted a 2.38 ERA (3rd in the league) pitched 280 innings (3rd in the NL) walking only 88 batters had 15 complete games with three shut outs. He only walked 88 batters, threw five shutouts and pitched 15 more complete games.

For the start of the 1976 bicentennial year, Seaver beat the Expos on Opening Day with a five hit one run performance. He began the year at 4-0 after two complete game wins at the end of April. Things were up & down the rest of the way for him going into the break at 9-5 with a 2.30 ERA. He relieved Randy Jones in the 4th inning of the All Star Game in Philadelphia, allowing a run over two innings. 

It was another off year in the wins department for Seaver, as his final record was 14-11 but he led the league in strikeouts (235) for the fifth time, striking out over 200 batters for a record 10th season. He also posted the league’s third best ERA at 2.59, threw five shutouts with 15 complete games & 280 innings pitched.

In 1977 Seaver & the Mets were in obvious turmoil. He began the year on the mound great once again, winning the Player of the Week & Pitcher of the Month Awards. He beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Opening Day, and then threw a five hit shutout at Shea beating the Cardinals. 

On April 17th at Shea Stadium, Seaver threw his fifth career one hitter, beating the Cubs, striking out six & walking four. He finished the month with a one run complete game performance against the Padres going to 4-0 lowering his ERA to 1.52.

The contact turmoils & media hounding affected him in May as he went 0-3, although the Mets bats were also dead as the team was falling apart. In June with the trade becoming inevitable, Seaver won his final three Mets starts as a Met. He beat his future team the Reds on June 7th, throwing a five hit shutout striking out ten. 

His last outing was at the Astrodome beating Houston 3-1 in another five hit performance. His former roomate Bud Harrelson was the only Met in the line up from the 1969 Championship team & John Milner the only survivor from the ’73 NL Champion team. He was 7-3 with an ERA of 3.00 for the ’77 Mets, before being traded on July 15th, one of the worst days in Mets history.


The fans were furious when Seaver was traded, not only that but the team was in last place already 13 games out. Attendance plummeted, and Shea Stadium earned the nickname "Grant's Tomb." It was a horrible point in Mets history, especially after the glory years & what looked like
a bright future after 1973. Seaver returned to New York on August 22nd, as a huge came out to welcome him home.

It was so strange to see him in another uniform on the mound he called his office for so many years. That night he beat the Mets 5-1 striking out 11, as his long time former team mate Ed Kranepool drove in the only run. Bud Harrelson, Lee Mazzilli & Steve Henderson were the only other Mets to get hits that night. He went to his 10th All Star Game pitching two innings allowing two runs. The rest of 1977 Seaver was 14-2 behind a strong Big Red Machine lineup giving him runs support. He posted a 21-6 overall record (second most wins in the NL) posting a 2.58 ERA (also second) with 196 strikeouts in 260 innings pitched.

After having thrown five one-hitters for New York, including three no-hitters that were broken up in the 9th inning, one year to the day he arrived in Cincinnati he pitched his first no hitter. It came at Riverfront Stadium on June 16 against the Cardinals. That day Don Werner was behind the plate in place of Johnny Bench, Werner only caught 118 career games. 

Seaver never won games again, & by the time he got to Riverfront Stadium the Big Red Machine had their best days behind him. He got to the post season in 1979 but lost to the eventual Champion Pirates.

By the late seventies the Dodgers became the main force in the National League. In 1978 Seaver won 16 games (16-14) posting his last 200 plus strike out season (226) & his last season of posting an ERA under three (2.54). In 1979 he was 16-6 with a 3.14 ERA, getting no decision in the NLCS.

Seaver also began his broadcasting career in 1977 when he joined Howard Cosell & Keith Jackson on ABC Sports for the World Series. The following year he covered the World Series again this time with Joe Garagiola & Tony Kubek on NBC Sports coverage.

Remembering "The Midnight Massacre" - The Tom Seaver Trade 1977

Background: The New York Mets were at a bad time in team history at the time of the Tom Seaver Trade. The clubs beloved owner Mrs. Joan Payson had passed away in 1975. Her husband Charles Shipman had no interest in baseball, so their daughter; Lorinda deRoulet took charge of the team. Roulet didn't know about baseball and let the teams Chairman- M. Donald Grant make all the calls.

Grant was a longtime friend of Payson. Together they served on the board of the New York Giants baseball club in the 1950's. Grant had been with the Mets since the beginning, but his baseball knowledge had already been questioned in the past.

He was a longtime stockbroker who didn't like spending money. He refused give in to the new era of baseball free agency. On top of that he was trading off his top players, instead of paying them the higher salaries of the day. He was out spoken against free agency at that winters owners meetings and was running the Mets organization into the ground.

In 1977 Tom Seaver was already a Mets legend and the most successful player in the teams brief 15 year history. He was known as "The Franchise", was one of baseballs top pitchers & already destined for the Hall of Fame.

At the end of the 1975 season, after winning his third Cy Young Award, he had negotiated a new contract worth $675,000, making him baseballs highest paid pitcher.

But by the end of 1976 free agency was making players sign deals worth a million dollars. His friend & former team mate Nolan Ryan wasn't eligible for free agency until 1979, but California Angels owner Gene Autry, gave Ryan a $300,000 a year in advance.

In New York, Tom Seaver attempted to renegotiate his contract but the meetings didn't go well. Seaver was also the Mets Union Player Rep at the time. He was outspoken in Spring Training, about the Mets not going after any top free agents. They were a big market team, they were still drawing well and certainly had the money. They needed hitting and a high caliber outfielder badly. Actually they needed big hitter for years.

Seaver stressed the Mets go after the Giants Gary Mathews who fit their needs perfectly. "How could they not even try" Seaver said in disgust. Mathews ended up getting $1.2 million from the small market Atlanta Braves.

Rumors that Mets G.M. Joe McDonald, was in trade talks about sending Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds swept the city by early June. Daily News Reporter Jack Lang, told Seaver to talk with Mets owner Mrs. deRoulet instead of Chairman M. Donald Grant. Seaver did & made progress.

On June 14th,1977 she & Seaver worked out a deal over the phone. Seaver would get his contract extended three years, earning $1.1 million. $300,000 the first year & $400,000 each of the next two years. Seaver told Mets G.M. Joe McDonald to stop the trade talks with Cincinnati.

The next day, Daily News reporter Dick Young's column outraged Seaver, it was the straw that broke the camels back. It read: "Nolan Ryan is now getting more money than Seaver and that galls Tom, because his wife Nancy and Nolan's wife Ruth are very friendly and Tom has long treated Ryan like a little brother."

Seaver was furious, he immediately called Mets PR director and said "Get me out of here, do you hear me?" The deal was off, he would not allow his wife to get dragged into the mess.

Grant was getting sole support in the press by Dick Young of the Daily News. His son in law; Thorton Geary, was recently hired by M. Donald Grant as Mets V.P. of Communications. Dick Young sided with Mets management and wrote that Seaver was being greedy & selfish with his demands. But Seaver had the support of everyone else in the media, especially his friend Jack Lang, the Mets beat writer, also of the NY Daily News. Dick Young encouraged Lang to write what he felt, knowing the rivalry would sell more papers.

G.M. Joe McDonald completed the trade with the Reds - Seaver went to Cincinnati for four young players: pitcher Pat Zachry, second baseman Doug Flynn and outfielders Steve Henderson and Dan Norman.

The deal was not announced until after the Mets' Sunday night game with the Braves in Atlanta, by which time Seaver had already flown home to New York. Seaver, spoke in a sad press conference the next day where he broke down in tears when asked if he'll miss the fans.

It was the one of the worst days in Mets history and led to the teams darkest period. To make matters worse, they traded slugger Dave Kingman, the teams only power hitter the same night.

The Mets would finish last in 1977 and would lose 95 or more games in each of the next three seasons. Attendance plummeted and Shea Stadium became known as "Grants Tomb" in honor of the Chairman.

Quotes: In 2007 Seaver said; "There are two things Grant said to me that I'll never forget, but illustrate the kind of person he was,". During the labor negotiations, he said: 'What are you, some sort of Communist?' Another time, he said : 'Who do you think you are, joining the Greenwich Country Club?'

As for M. Donald Grant - He was forced out of the organization the next year. He told reporters he "was tired of being kicked around" insisting, "I'm a good guy. The press made such a martyr of Seaver that it killed me." The miserable Grant, lived until the age of 94.

Daily News writer Dick Young, was forever hated by Met fans. The next month he was booed on his induction into the writers' wing of the Hall of Fame. Eventually his own greed, led him to switch to the rival New York Post paper in 1981. Yes, for more money. Young was very sick as the Mets won the 1986 World Series & died in 1987 at age of 69.

Reorter Jack Lang was the Mets beat writer until 1985 and helped co author a few different Mets books. He retired from the press in 1989 & was inducted into the writers wing of the Hall of Fame in 1987. Jack Lang passed away in 2007 at age 85, from liver disease in Huntington, Long Island.

Quotes: At the time of his passing Tom Seaver called him " a dear friend" .

Joe McDonald was replaced as the G.M. in 1980 by Frank Cashen. This was when Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon bought the team. McDonald later worked as G.M. for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Thornton Geary was involved in negotiating the first Cablevision deal for the Mets. He left the club in 1981 and is now retired in North Carolina.

The Big Red Machine were reigning two time World Champions at the time they got Tom Seaver. It seemed Seaver would keep them on top for the next few years or more. Instead, the Dodgers took over as the NL West Champions & won the next two pennants. Seaver would get to just one post season with Reds; losing in the NLCS to the eventual 1979 World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.

Seaver put up good numbers with the Reds but nothing like his days in New York. Upon his arrival he was still in his prime going 14-3. Overall in 1977 he was 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA & 196 strike outs. It was the first time in nine years he did not strike out 200 or more batters (an MLB record). He was a two time 16 game winner (1978-1979) & led the league in winning % (.875%) in the strike shortened 1981 season where he was 14-2.