Jul 25, 2020

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

Looking back at Tom Seaver's history at the All Star Game:  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 Mr. Brock, that he was a player on the team. For many years later, Seaver joked with Brock about the incident, at the annual Cooperstown Hall of fame induction ceremonies.

Tom Seaver made his first All Star appearance, in his 1967 rookie season. The game was played at Anaheim Stadium, in Anaheim, California. Seaver was born north, in Fresno & had attended USC college. So he had many family & friends in attendance at the game. 

He entered the game in the bottom of the 15th inning with the NL ahead 2-1. They had gotten the lead after The Reds' Tony Perez hit a HR off Oakland's Catfish Hunter in the top half of the inning.

Seaver told the Daily News in 2013, that he remembered being very nervous on the walk to the mound from the bullpen. But it then he arrived at what he always called, "his office"- the pitcher's mound.

Tom & Nancy Seaver
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.”

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. 

1968 All Star Game: 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 his Giants' team mate, 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 Philadelphia's Steve Carlton, in the 7th inning. Seaver got The Twins' Rod Carew to ground out & then struck out The Red Sox, 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, the Giants' 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 then he struck out Baltimore's Boog Powell, Mickey Mantle & Oakland's Rick Monday. The Mets Rookie left hander, Jerry Koosman was brought in next & got the final out in the 9th.

1969 All Star Game: 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 All Star Game: 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 Chicago's Luis Aparicio. 

Next, Carl Yastremzski drove a single up the middle, but Seaver then struck out Baltimore's 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 Twins 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 mid summer classic when Tom got the call.

The AL took a 4-1 lead into the 9th inning, with the A's 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 the AL New York's club, wife swapping pitcher; 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 base 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.

1971 All Star Game: Seaver was selected to the classic 1971 All Star Game in Detroit, Michigan. It was this year that the AL finally snapped an eight year losing streak, winning this game 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.

Overall, 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, that hit a transformer.

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 All Star Game: 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 game 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 All Star Game: The 1973 NL Cy Young Award winner, Tom Seaver, got to his seventh straight All Star Game this summer. He would pitch one inning of relief at Kansas City's, Royals Stadium. 

The game was a 7-1 National League blow out, highlighted by HRs from the Reds' Johnny Bench, the Giants' Bobby Bonds & the Dodgers' Willie Davis. 

Seaver pitched the bottom of the 8th inning; he walked the hometown Royals Cookie Rojas to start the inning. But then he got three ground outs in a row, from Cleveland's Ed Brinkman, the Royals' John Mayberry & the A's' Reggie Jackson.

1974 All Star Game: In 1974 mid summer classic, the Mets were the reigning NL Champions. Mets manager Yogi Berra was the NL skipper for the game held at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium.

 That year Seaver was suffering from back issues that screwed up his mechanics & he had one of the worst years of his career. He had already fallen to 6-6 by the All Star break. He would finish at 11-11 but still struck out over 200 batters. Berra chose his new young star lefty, Jon Matlack & his catcher Jerry Grote for All Star representation in the 7-2 NL win.

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

But this was Jon Matlack's night, as he pitched two scoreless innings, striking out four AL batters. He was selected as the games co-MVP honors along with the Chicago  Cubs; Bill Madlock. Yaz' three run HR was all the AL put up in the 6-3 NL win. It was their third straight win, as the NL took 11 of the last 12 All Star Games.

1976 Mets All Stars; Jon Matlack- Dave Kingman
& Tom Seaver with Manager Sparky Anderson
1976 All Star Game: The Bicentennial Year had the city of Philadelphia host the All Star game, in Veterans Stadium. For the Mets, Seaver, Matlack & new Met slugger Dave Kingman were chosen to represent the club. Kingman had already hit 30 HRs & would make the start for the NL in right field.

The NL rolled along 7-1, with Seaver once again allowing the only run, a HR to Boston's Fred Lynn. 

Overall, Seaver pitched two innings the 4th & the 5th following starter Randy Jones of San Diego.Seaver allowed the Lynn HR & a single, to former Mets team mate Rusty Staub, who was now with the Detroit Tigers, having an awesome year. Seaver even got an at bat, ending the 4th inning, striking out against the A's Catfish Hunter. Kingman went 0-2 in the game.

1977 All Star Game: The sad 1977 season  saw Tom Seaver get traded to the Cincinnati Reds. Just over a month later, he was pitching in the All Star game in New York. 

But it was a not what a Met fan wanted to see, it was so surreal, he was in a Reds uniform & pitching in the Bronx. The game was held in New York, in the newly renovated AL club's Stadium. Seaver got a huge ovation from the crowd when he was introduced in the pre game ceremonies.

Later in the game, after Don Sutton pitched three shut out innings & the Giants' Gary Lavalle pitched two shut out innings, it was Seaver's turn. He entered in the 6th inning with a 6-0 NL 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 that 6th inning, The White Sox Richie Zisk doubled with two on, scoring Rod Carew & Fred Lynn. In the 7th, the Twins' Butch Wynegar singled & advanced on an error. He then scored on a Willie Randolph base hit, to the delight of the Bronx crowd.

The NL went on to its sixth straight win, winning 14 of  the last 15 All Star games. They would not loose again until 1983. Tom Seaver would not pitch  in another All Star game until 1981.

In 2013, Seaver returned to the mound in New York, this time at Citi Field. He was wearing his Mets jersey,  throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

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