Muscle Sport Magazine

Tom Seaver Returns To the Mets – OTD in Baseball 1982

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The Midnight Massacre was forgiven ever so slightly when the New York Mets brought back Tom Seaver five years after he was shipped out of town. June 15, 1977 is a date that will live in infamy for the Mets faithful when “The Franchise” was traded to the Cincinnati Reds and slugger Dave Kingman to the San Diego Padres, cementing a rebuilding stage that would take eight years before the team was able to climb out of the ‘second division.’

Seaver was older (38), but still a returning hero to join a Mets squad that was writhe with youngsters and also-rans. It didn’t matter, as Tom Terrific was named the Opening Day starter and enjoyed a raucous ovation at Shea Stadium as he walked from the bullpen after pregame warm-ups to the bench along the right field line. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I was seated right there on that April afternoon in 1983 as a teenager and my friends and I still recall that day fondly.)

On this day in baseball in 1982, a package of Charlie Puleo, Lloyd McClendon and Jason Felice found themselves on the way to Cincinatti and Seaver back in Flushing. Pitching for a team that placed sixth at 68-94, Seaver finished with a respectable 9-14 record with a 3.55 ERA. He had 34 starts, two complete games, two shutouts and 135 strikeouts.

But the Mets have been a franchise that is prone to make mistakes and left Seaver off the protected list that offseason and the Chicago White Sox plucked him as free agent compensation pick. He went on to go 15-11 and 16-11 in the next two seasons, respectively, making it an even tougher pill to swallow in Queens. His final season came in 1986, pitching for the White Sox and Boston Red Sox (7-13 total). He was left off the postseason roster due to an injury, but was in the victors dugout when the Mets beat the Red Sox in seven games to win one of the most exciting World Series played.

Tom Seaver had come full circle.


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