Jul 15, 2013

Looking Back At Tom Seaver's Career At the All Star Game

1971 Mets All Stars Tom Seaver &
Bud Harrelson
At the 2013 All Star Game at Citi Field, the Mets & MLB are honoring Hall of Famer to throw out the first pitch. It's a perfect selection as Tom Terrific known as "the franchise" is certainly the most successful, respected & loved Mets player of all time.

Seaver has recently suffered from a terrible bout with lime disease that caused him to feel fatigued & have a memory loss. This explains Seaver's low profile in the baseball world the last year.

It was feared that he was suffering from dementia, but after his wife Nancy finally convinced him to see a doctor, lime disease was the diagnosis. It was a form that had laid dormant in his body for years before resurfacing. Now Seaver has his memory back & is fully recovering.

Lets look back at Tome Seaver's All Star Game Highlights:

As soon as Tom Seaver arrived at the 1967 MLB All Star Game, he was approached in the club house, by St. Louis Cardinal's base stealer Lou Brock. Brock asked him if he'd mind fetching him a coke, thinking he was a clubhouse attendant.

The Young Seaver told Brock, he was a player & to this day jokes with Brock about the incident. After all the two see each other every year, at Cooperstown for the induction ceremonies.

Tom Seaver made his first All Star appearance in his 1967 rookie season. The game was played in Anaheim & Seaver being from Southern California had many family & friends on hand. He entered the game in the bottom of the 15th inning with the NL ahead 2-1. They had gotten the lead after a Tony Perez HR off Catfish Hunter in the top half of the inning.

Seaver told the Daily News this week, he remembered being very nervous on the walk in to the mound from the bullpen. But it then he arrived at his office; the pitcher's mound.

Quotes: “That was the turning point of my career. As I looked down at that rubber, I said to myself: ‘I can do this!’ It was right then, right there, in front of 46,000 people, including my friends and family, I knew I belonged in the big leagues.”

Tom & Nancy Seaver
The first batter was the Red Sox Tony Conigliaro, Seaver got him to fly out to left field. Next up was Carl Yastrzemski, that years Triple Crown Winner, Seaver walked him. He then got Tigers catcher Bill Freehan to fly out & then struck out Ken Berry for the final out of the classic game, earning the save. Seaver made his second All Star Game the next year.

1968: In the 1968 All Star Game held at the Houston Astrodome, the NL won a 1-0 pitchers classic. The only run was scored in the 1st inning, as Willie Mays crossed the plate when Willie McCovey grounded into a double play. It was the second straight year, the Dodgers Don Drysdale was credited with the victory.

In this game Tom Seaver relieved Steve Carlton pitching in the 7th inning. He got Rod Carew to ground out & then struck out Carl Yastrzemski. The Twins Tony Oliva, a three time batting champion then doubled to deep centerfield. But Seaver reared back & struck out one of his idols, Willie McCovey looking.

Seaver impressed NL Manager Red Schoendienst of the Cardinals so much, he came on to pitch the 8th inning as well. Seaver allowed a double to the weak hitting Detroit Tiger Don Wert, but also struck out Boog Powell, Mickey Mantle & Rick Monday. Mets Rookie Jerry Koosman was brought in & got the final out in the 9th.

1969: Seaver was on hand for the 1969 All Star Game in Washington D.C. but did not pitch. It had just been two weeks since he threw his one hit "imperfect game" at Shea, & the Amazing Mets were surprising everyone as contenders.

The NL took this game 9-3 as they continued their dominance over the American League winning their seventh straight.

1970: In 1970 the World Champion New York Mets manager Gil Hodges, chose his Cy Young Award winner from 1969 to start for the N.L. at Riverfront Stadium, in Cincinnati. Seaver started the game by striking out Luis Aparicio. Next, Carl Yastremzski drove a single up the middle, but Seaver then struck out Frank Robinson & got Boog Powell to pop up. The two Orioles players felt like it was the 1969 World Series all over again.

In the 2nd, he struck out slugger Harmon Killebrew & D.C.'s hometown hero; Frank Howard. Seaver then pitched a scoreless, hitless third inning before being taken out of the game.

Seaver did not get the victory, as this game went into extra innings & the Dodgers Claude O'Steen was the winner. Ironically, it was O' Steen that was warming up next to Seaver in the 1967 classic when Tom got the call.

The AL took a 4-1 lead into the 9th inning, with Catfish Hunter on the mound. He surrendered a HR to the Braves Dick Dietz, then singles to the Mets Bud Harrelson & The Reds Joe Morgan. Then a AL New York's club wife swapper; Fritz Peterson surrendered a Willie McCovey RBI double, scoring Harrelson. Mel Stottlemyre was brought in & got Roberto Clemente to line out, but Morgan scored from third to tie the game up. 

It was on this night that Pete Rose rounded third base in the bottom of the 12th inning to a famous play at home plate. He arrived at the plate the same time the ball did, then leveled catcher Ray Fosse knocking him & the ball out of the play. Rose scored after former Met; Jim Hickman (now with the Cubs & having a career year) had driven a single to centerfield.

The play has been controversial for years, since it's not many times you see a violent collision at home plate in an All Star Game. Strangely Fosse had been over Rose' house the night before for dinner with the family. Fosse suffered a dislocated shoulder & was never the same player again.

Tom Seaver & Willie Mays 1971
1971: Seaver was selected to the classic 1971 All Star Game in Detroit, where the AL finally snapped an eight year losing streak, winning 6-4. This game had the Mets Bud Harrelson make the start as the NL's shortstop, in a lineup that also featured the likes of; Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell & Johnny Bench.

Twenty future Hall of Famers participated in the game, highlighted by the Oakland A's; Reggie Jackson's long HR onto the roof of Tiger Stadium. Other HRs that night were hit by Harmon Killebrew & Frank Robinson for the A.L. & Johnny Bench, Roberto Clemente & Hank Aaron for the NL.

1972: Seaver also attended the 1972 All Star Game at Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium, but did not pitch once again. This was another extra inning classic that the NL pulled out in the bottom of the 10th inning, when Joe Morgan singled off The Orioles; Dave McNally to score San Diego's Nate Colbert with the winning run.

The winning pitcher was non other than the Mets Tug McGraw; who pitched a scoreless 9th & 10th inning. In the 9th Tug struck out Reggie Jackson, Bobby Grich & Norm Cash. In the 10th he struck out Carlton Fisk & got Sal Bando & Lou Pinella to ground out.

1973: The 1973 Cy Young Award winning Seaver, got to his seventh straight All Star Game that summer, pitching one inning of relief at Kansas City's Royals Stadium. The game was a 7-1 NL blow out, highlighted by HRs from Johnny Bench, Bobby Bonds & Willie Davis. Seaver pitched the bottom of the 8th inning; he walked the Royals Cookie Rojas & got three ground outs from Ed Brinkman, John Mayberry & Reggie Jackson.

1974: In 1974 the Mets were the reigning NL Champions & Mets manager Yogi Berra was the NL skipper for the Mid Summer Classic held at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium. That year Seaver was suffering from back issues that messed up his mechanics as he fell to 6-6 by the break. He would finish at 11-11 but still struck out over 200 batters. Berra chose Jon Matlack & his catcher Jerry Grote for All Str representation in the 7-2 NL win.

1975: Seaver was back in full form in 1975, rebounding with his third Cy Young season. He & Jon Matlack attended the All Star Game held in Milwaukee's County Stadium. This was not Seaver's best night, as he surrendered a three run HR to Carl Yastrzemski, whom he had battled in previous All Star match ups.

But it was Jon Matlack's night, as he pitched two scoreless innings, striking out four, earning the win & the games co-MVP honors along with the Cubs; Bill Madlock. Yaz' three run HR was all the AL put up as they took a 6-3 loss, the NL's third straight win, 11 of the last 12.

1976 Mets All Stars; Jon Matlack- Dave Kingman
& Tom Seaver with Manager Sparky Anderson
1976: The Bicentennial Year had Philadelphia host the All Star game, and Seaver, Matlack & new Met Dave Kingman represented the club. Kingman had already hit 30 HRs & made the NL start in right field.

The NL rolled along 7-1, with Seaver once again allowing the only run, a HR to Boston's Fred Lynn. Seaver pitched two innings, allowing the HR & a single to former Mets team mate Rusty Staub, now with Detroit. Seaver even got an at bat, striking out against Catfish Hunter. Kingman went 0-2 in the game.

1977: The sad season of 1977 saw Tom Seaver's last All Star appearance in a Mets uniform. He entered the game held in New York, at the new AL Clubs ball park across town, in the 6th inning with a 6-0 lead.

It turned out to be another not so good outing for Tom Terrific; as he gave up three runs over two innings of work.

In the 6th; The White Sox Richie Zisk doubled to score Rod Carew & Fred Lynn. In the 7th the Twins Butch Wynegar singled & an NL error got him to advance, he then scored on a Willie Randolph base hit, to the delight of the Bronx crowd.

The NL went on to its fifth straight win, but the next time Tom Seaver was at All Star game pitching, he was in a Reds uniform.

In 2013, Seaver will return to the mound in New York in a Mets jersey, at Citi Field the new home of the Mets to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

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