(Reuters) – Tom Seaver, the Hall-of-Fame pitcher who won more than 300 games during his Major League Baseball career and led the New York Mets to their unlikely 1969 World Series championship, has died at the age of 75.
Seaver, who was nicknamed “The Franchise” and “Tom Terrific” because of how valuable he was to the Mets, died in his sleep on Monday from complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19, the Baseball Hall of Fame said in a statement.
“He was simply the greatest Mets player of all-time,” Mets owner Fred Wilpon and his son Jeff, a top executive with the team, said in a statement.
Seaver captured the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1967 and then blossomed into greatness in 1969 when he won the National League Cy Young Award as the top pitcher after leading the major leagues in victories with 25.
That was also the season the Mets, who had been among MLB’s worst teams from their inception in 1962 and were known as the lovable losers, captured their first World Series title behind the powerful right arm of Seaver.
“Tom was a gentleman who represented the best of our National Pastime,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
“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.”
Seaver, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, also played for the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox during a major league career that spanned 1967-1986. He won 311 games and earned 12 All-Star selections.
“It is an honor to play this game, to be blessed with talent,” Seaver once said. “It was an art form, a physical and mental art form.”
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Leslie Adler and Christopher Cushing)