Baseball legend and Fresno native Tom Seaver passed away Monday at the age of 75. The celebrated pitcher was considered the epitome of a Hall of Famer.
He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 for his 20-year career in the Major Leagues. His early years with the New York Mets set him apart right away.
“He came up in 1967 and immediately won Rookie of the Year,” says Jon Shestakofsky, vice president of communications and education for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. “Two years later, wins his first of three Cy Young Awards as the best pitcher in the National League, and leads the New York Mets to their first World Series championship in only their eighth season of existence.”
Shestakofsky says Seaver put the Mets on the map, earning him the nickname “Tom Terrific.” In total, he won 311 games.
Shestakofsky says Seaver was also highly respected for his leadership and character. “When he was pitching, they wanted to be as good as they could to help him win,” Shestakofsky says of Seaver’s teammates. “He kind of brought people up to another level, and that can probably be said for everything he did in life.”
With his death, Shestakofsky says, baseball loses “a giant among us.”
“What connects all of us to baseball is the people, and perhaps nobody meant as much to his team and to the fans of a certain team than Mr. Seaver for the Mets,” says Shestakofsky.
Seaver is an alumnus of Fresno High School and Fresno City College. In a statement, Ron Scott, the head baseball coach at Fresno City College, called Seaver “the greatest baseball player that ever put on a Fresno City College Baseball uniform.” Dr. Paul Parnell, chancellor of the State Center Community College District said Seaver “left a legacy” at the district, impacting the lives of ball players who followed him.
Fresno High School renamed Echo Avenue in front of the school “Tom Seaver Lane” in 2013.
According to the Hall of Fame, Seaver passed away due to complications from dementia and COVID-19.