The New York Mets Encyclopedia|
by Peter C. Bjarkman
Sports Publishing, Inc., 2001 | Buy the book
1967: ARRIVAL OF TOM TERRIFIC
The complex story of Tom Seaver's signing as a top collegiate prospect has
been told and retold on numerous occasions. It is recounted several times in
the pages (e.g., see Chapters 2 and 3) of this very book. Had young Mr.
Seaver's improper signing in February 1966 with the Atlanta Braves been
allowed to stand unchallenged, then obviously, the face of National League
baseball would have looked quite different throughout the late 1960s and all
of the 1970s. Tom Terrific would certainly have ended up as a permanent
resident in Cooperstown, no matter which team he pitched for. But if he had
not worn the Mets' blue and orange jersey from the start of his career, it is
likely that the charming saga of the Miracle Mets would never have occurred,
at least not quite so early on.
Seaver's first season in the big time was not as eye-catching as that of some
other rookie phenoms. He didn't lead the league in anything outside of top
rookie ballots, despite breaking every club record in sight for the
six-year-old franchise. Dwight Gooden's debut was certainly better from a
numerical standpoint and from every other angle. Gooden's 17-9 mark edges
Seaver's 16-13 ledger, and the ERA and strikeout totals of the former easily
best those of the latter. Gooden's strikeout total was better than Seaver's by
nearly a hundred whiffs (276 to 170). The following year's rookie phenom,
Jerry Koosman, also posted victory and ERA numbers better than those of
Seaver's debut campaign. But then it has to be noted that the 1967 Mets, who
had slipped back into the league cellar, didn't exactly offer much support for
the wet-behind-the-ears star pitcher. Gooden and Koosman both pitched for much
Yet from the first day Seaver arrived in New York with the Mets,
one thing was clear. Here was the ball club's entire future hopes wrapped up
in one sensational arm and in an athlete who was wise far beyond his years in
the craft of pitching. Indeed, never has it been any more crystal clear that a
single player held the key to an entire franchise future. And never have such
outrageous expectations heaped on the shoulders of an untried rookie been
better met in the few short years to follow.
From The New York Mets Encyclopedia by Peter C. Bjarkman.
Copyright © by Peter C. Bjarkman. Excerpted with permission.