Longtime big leaguer and Hall of Famer Tom Seaver passed away Wednesday, his family confirmed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was 75.
Seaver's family says he "passed peacefully in his sleep of complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19."
"We are heartbroken to share that our beloved husband and father has passed away," Seaver's wife, Nancy, and daughters, Anne and Sarah, said in a statement. "We send our love out to his fans, as we mourn his loss with you."
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred released the following statement Wednesday night:
"I am deeply saddened by the death of Tom Seaver, one of the greatest pitchers of all-time. Tom was a gentleman who represented the best of our National Pastime. He was synonymous with the New York Mets and their unforgettable 1969 season. After their improbable World Series Championship, Tom became a household name to baseball fans – a responsibility he carried out with distinction throughout his life.
"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my condolences to Tom's family, his admirers throughout our game, Mets fans, and the many people he touched."
Seaver pitched for 20 seasons in the big leagues from 1967-86 and was, quite simply, one of the greatest pitchers to ever live. He retired with a 311-205 record and a 2.86 ERA. Seaver broke in with the Mets (1967-77) and also played for the Reds (1977-82), Mets again (1983), White Sox (1984-86), and Red Sox (1986).
Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon released the following statements Wednesday night:
"Tom Seaver's life exemplified greatness in the game, as well as integrity, character, and sportsmanship – the ideals of a Hall of Fame career," said Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the Hall of Fame, in a statement. "As a longtime member of the Hall of Fame Board of Directors, Tom brought dignity and wisdom to this institution that will be deeply missed. His love for baseball history, and for the Hall of Fame, was reinforced in 2014, when he pledged the donation of his personal baseball collection to the Museum. His wonderful legacy will be preserved forever in Cooperstown."
"Tom's fierceness as a competitor was matched by his daily preparation and workout regimen," added Tim Mead, president of the Hall of Fame. "Intelligent, passionate, disciplined, respectful and driven, he was as fine a pitcher as the game has seen."
Seaver was named the NL Rookie of the Year after throwing 251 innings with a 2.76 ERA in 1967. He won three Cy Young awards (1969. 1973, 1975) and was selected to 12 All-Star Games. Seaver also finished second in the Cy Young voting in 1971 and 1981, and third in 1977. He was voted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 1992.
"Tom Terrific" is widely regarded as the greatest Mets player in history. He was the ace of the 1969 World Series champion Miracle Mets and he became the fifth pitcher in history to reach 3,000 career strikeouts in 1981. At the time of his retirement, Seaver owned the lowest career ERA in baseball history and the National League record for strikeouts (3,272).
Fellow Hall of Famer Henry Aaron once called Seaver "the toughest pitcher I ever had to face."
Seaver was born in Fresno, California, and he played college baseball at the University of Southern California. He was drafted in the 10th round by the Dodgers in 1965 but did not sign. Seaver signed with the Braves as their first round pick in 1966, but the contract was voided because he played two college exhibition games that year. The Mets were awarded Seaver's rights through a lottery that was overseen by commissioner William Eckert.
The Mets retired Seaver's No. 41 in 1988. He was the first player to wear a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque -- Mike Piazza is the only other player to do so -- and he took part in ceremonies to close Shea Stadium in 2008 and open Citi Field in 2009.
Following his playing career, Seaver worked as a television analyst covering the Mets and Yankees. He later started Seaver Vineyards near his home in California.
In March of 2019, Seaver stepped out of the public eye after being diagnosed with dementia.