New York Mets fans know the greatness of Tom Seaver. What everyone may not realize is how many Hall of Fame players he dominated.
Tom Seaver’s dementia diagnosis has many New York Mets reminiscing about his MLB career. Regarded as the greatest Mets player of all-time anyone who got to see him pitch knows exactly why he ranks so high.
I’m not as lucky as others. All I know of Seaver is what I read, hear, or see a replay of.
Thankfully, I do have Baseball Reference to help me learn a little more about just how dominant of a pitcher he was. He didn’t just beat up on scrubs either. In fact, Seaver has some terrific numbers against some MLB Hall of Famers.
In 93 plate appearances against Seaver, the great Hank Aaron mustered a .220/.290/.476 slash line. He did smack 5 home runs against Tom Terrific but settled with a less than stellar batting line. Without spoiling much, Aaron’s one of the most successful players on this list.
The longtime Cincinnati Reds catcher, Johnny Bench, had one of the worst careers versus Seaver. This includes all Hall of Famers and those who have to buy a ticket to get into Cooperstown. Bench hit .179/.271/.333 in 96 plate appearances against Seaver. To go with it, Seaver struck him out 27 times which means Bench walked back to the dugout after strike three in more than a quarter of his chances versus the Mets’ legend.
Mets fans adore Gary Carter. The story may have been different if he had to face Seaver more often. Carter faced Seaver 71 times and hit a pathetic .188/.268/.234 against him. A single home run was his lone extra-base hit.
Reggie Jackson only faced Seaver 37 times and they all took place in the 1980s. However, it’s still worth noting how Seaver managed to hold him to a .226/.351/.581 batting line with 13 strikeouts. Diving a little deeper, Jackson went 1 for 12 with 5 strikeouts against Seaver in 1984 when the two faced off against each other for the first time.
During Eddie Murray’s long MLB career he had a chance to face many Hall of Fame pitchers. In 26 trips to the plate versus Seaver, he never figured him out. Murray slashed only .120/.154/.120 in those chances and only mustered 3 singles. For a guy with over 500 career home runs, it’s an atypical performance.
Hall of Famer Tony Perez is the lucky man who struck out more against Seaver than anyone else. His 44 strikeouts in 125 chances tops the list. Add to it a batting line of .210/.240/.361 and we get a picture of just how well Seaver performed against this member of the Big Red Machine.
Mike Schmidt swung hard and when he connected the ball often traveled far. However, in 103 plate appearances against Seaver, the pitcher often won. Schmidt was a lifetime .188/.317/.294 hitter against him with 35 total strikeouts.
Legendary Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Willie Stargell stepped into the batter’s box 143 times against Seaver. While he did hit 8 home runs, Seaver held him to a .238/.301/.546 batting line. Maybe the most surprising statistic of Stargell’s career versus Seaver is how he somehow managed to knock 4 triples against him. Seaver more than made up for it by striking him out 39 times.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
As one of the most feared pitchers in baseball in the late 1960s, throughout the 1970s, and even into the 1980s it’s no mystery how Seaver managed to dominate this many MLB Hall of Famers. For what it’s worth, this list doesn’t even include the dozens of All-Stars he had success against. We’ll save that long list of names for another day.