Apr 5, 2021

Remembering Mets History (1976) Tom Seaver Becomes The First $200k Pitcher

April 5th, 1976: At the end of the 1975 season, Tom Seaver earned his third Cy Young Award. He began negotiations with the Mets but the two sides were far apart. Things got ugly as the two sides began feuding publicly in the press. The Mets fans wanted no of this, just give Tom Terrific, "the Franchise" anything he wanted. He was the best pitcher in baseball.

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.

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