Mets: Is Tom Seaver the greatest pitcher in New York baseball history?
By Leen Amin
In the history of professional baseball in New York City, New York Mets legend Tom Seaver might be better than any other pitcher.
I’m not a fan of the New York Mets. I’m proud to call myself a supporter of their cross-town rivals, the New York Yankees. Always have been, always will be.
Having said that, the passing of Tom Seaver has affected me greatly. Wednesday was a sad day for the Mets, but it was also a sad day for the rest of the baseball world, including myself.
In my house, growing up, I was the odd one out. A die-hard Yankees fan living with two fierce Mets fans, my father and brother. For this reason, arguments, verbal jabs, and trash-talking have never been uncommon in the Amin household.
But I’m grateful that my father, especially, is a lifelong Mets fan. It’s forced me to always be up to date with Mets news. It’s the reason I’m writing for Rising Apple. I’ve also learned so much about the history of the team because of my father. And that history, of course, is headlined by the great Tom Seaver.
Hearing from my father about Seaver’s historically great win-loss record, his club record ERA, his strikeout count, the “Midnight Massacre”, his return to the Mets, and what he meant to his team and to the fans is something I will always appreciate. The respect I grew up having for “The Franchise” is limitless.
My younger brother, who never even came close to seeing Seaver pitch, was heartbroken upon hearing the devastating news. That’s how much Seaver means to the Mets fanbase.
If you ask any fan, whether they’re 90 or 15 years old, they’ll tell you Seaver is undeniably the greatest player in franchise history. He means so much to so many people, including my father. And because he means so much to my father, he means a great deal to me.
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So many are remembering the amazing life and career of Seaver. As a result, I see his career numbers everywhere I look. That had me thinking: where would Seaver rank among Yankees greats? Heck, let’s throw the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers in there, too.
We already know that Seaver is the greatest pitcher in Mets history. The question is, which Yankees, Giants, and Dodgers pitchers were better? The list is minuscule.
An argument can definitely be made for Christy Mathewson of the New York Giants, and many would put him ahead of Seaver. Throughout his career, from 1900 to 1916, Mathewson led all pitchers in various categories like ERA, wins, strikeouts, ERA+, FIP, and WHIP multiple times.
He won the World Series just once but played a total of 11 postseason games and was stellar in all of them, boasting a 0.97 ERA and 0.836 WHIP with 48 strikeouts.
He won the Triple Crown twice, was the NL wins leader four times, the NL ERA leader five times, the NL strikeout leader five times, pitched two no-hitters, is a member of the Major League Baseball All-Century Team and is a member of the Hall of Fame.
His resume is stacked with accomplishments and accolades and he’s undoubtedly one of the greatest hurlers to take the mound.
However, it’s incredibly important to note that Mathewson played during the dead-ball era, a time in which scoring was low and an emphasis was placed more on pitching and fielding.
Of pitchers who have played for all four New York teams during the live-ball era, Seaver is the greatest.
Both the Giants and Dodgers relocated to San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively, during the late 1950s but during their time in New York, neither team had a pitcher who was on par with Seaver. The fact that Seaver would’ve been the greatest Yankees pitcher of all time is even more impressive, given their incredibly rich history.
Whitey Ford is the greatest Yankees starter of all time, but even he can’t be compared to Seaver. Seaver allowed fewer hits per nine innings, struck out more batters per nine, walked fewer batters per nine, and had a much higher WAR. Seaver would be the greatest pitcher in the history of most teams, and the Dodgers, Giants, and Yankees are no exception.
The impact Seaver has had on the game of baseball is immeasurable and has lasted for generations. Countless younger Mets fans mention how their grandparents and parents beam while speaking so fondly about Seaver.
I have seen that myself in my father. I thank Seaver for giving my father memories that will last a lifetime, something for him to smile about when things aren’t going so well for the Mets. Any baseball fan would be honored to have a pitcher half as dominant and great as Seaver on their team.
His legacy is eternal, and he’ll go down as a baseball legend. He already has.
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Farewell, Tom Terrific.