Remembering Mets History (1976) Tom Seaver Becomes The First $200k Pitcher
Seaver wanted more money, as baseball salaries began to rise in the dawn of what was to become free agency.
Seaver had asked for $825,000 for three years, saying that he would consider playing out his option & go else where if he didn't get what he deserved. Grant was furious at Seaver's attitude & threatened to trade him. A deal with the Dodgers was talked about, which would have possible brought Don Sutton to New York.
Tom Seaver asked the Mets Chairman, M. Donald Grant for a sit down to work out an agreement. It was the first time the two actually sat down together to negotiate a contract.
So after a Spring Training game against the AL New York team, the two sat down face to face for a meeting. The first meeting took place for over an hour, in the visitors clubhouse. Nothing was officially settled & the men took a break, leaving with no smiles on their faces. Seaver said he needed a break, to think things over.
Finally at 11:30 pm at night it was settled. Under the stands in a dingy groundskeepers office, on the third base side of Fort Lauderdale Stadium, where the Mets use to play Spring Training, a new deal was reached. The Mets made Tom Seaver, the highest paid pitcher in baseball & the first to make over $200,000 a year. Seaver's base was $225,000, with incentives.
Quotes- Tom Seaver: "I'm glad it's all over. It's been a very trying six weeks. I found it difficult to concentrate on my pitching, the last two starts. I don't think there's any doubt it will help our entire ballclub, knowing the situation is over".
Seaver went 14-11 with a 2.59 ERA in 1976, he led the league in
strike outs for the fifth times, with 243. It was the ninth straight year he fanned 200 or more batters, a record. The Mets won 86 games, but finished third. By 1977 the whole Tom Seaver contract issue would go to new levels. Everything went wrong & Seaver would be traded.