After the announcement late Wednesday that the Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, one of the greatest in baseball history, had died, tributes began pouring in on social media from prominent figures in sports and beyond.
Seaver’s résumé is jaw dropping: three National League Cy Young Awards, 311 victories, a 2.86 career E.R.A., 3,640 strikeouts and 12 All-Star selections over a 20-year career. He played for four major league teams, most notably the Mets, where he earned the nicknames “Tom Terrific” and “The Franchise” for spearheading the “Miracle Mets,” who went from perennial losers to surprise champions in 1969.
He died in his sleep from complications of Lewy body dementia and Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the Baseball Hall of Fame said in a statement.
“Everyone knows he was a great pitcher,” Dwight Gooden, 55, a former Mets great who helped lead the franchise to their only other World Series title, in 1986, wrote on Twitter. “But he was an even greater person. RIP to my friend Tom!”
Keith Hernandez, 66, the Mets’ first baseman on that 1986 team who now broadcasts Mets games for SNY, wrote, “I am deeply saddened of the passing of Tom Seaver. I had the honor of unsuccessfully hitting against him & having as a teammate. He is the greatest Met of all time. No one will ever surpass him that wears the orange & blue. My condolences to Nancy & his family. Tears.”
Jim Palmer, 74, a Hall of Fame pitcher whose Baltimore Orioles fell to Seaver’s Mets in the 1969 World Series, said on Twitter: “Saddened to hear my friend, Tom Seaver, has passed away. My condolences to Nancy & The Seaver family. Baseball lost the best pitcher of my era. #RIPTomTerrific”
Ken Singleton, 73, a former outfielder whose first two seasons in the major leagues were with the Mets in 1970 and 1971, wrote that he was “so sad” to learn of the passing of Seaver and called his former teammate the greatest Met of all time, a belief shared by many fans.
Longtime opponents expressed their admiration for Seaver. Larry Bowa, 74, the former Philadelphia Phillies player, manager and coach, wrote in part, “ He was one of the toughest pitchers I faced in my career and off the field he was a great person. RIP.” Bowa hit just .212 over 132 at-bats against Seaver.
Younger generations of Mets players also recognized Seaver’s legend. The former shortstop Jose Reyes, 37, wrote, “The @Mets have had a lot of great players in their history, but Tom Seaver was the best. RIP to a true gentleman. I didn’t know him well but we always had great talks when we saw each other.”
M.L.B. Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement delivering his condolences to Seaver’s family and “his admirers throughout our game, Mets fans, and the many people he touched.” He added, “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.”
Tony Clark, a former player and the current head of the players’ union, sent his sympathies in a statement of his own: “Tom Seaver will be remembered as a fierce and gifted competitor, a Hall of Fame pitcher whose passion never wavered on or off the field. He was a strong and steady voice on behalf of his fellow players as the Mets’ player representative in the early days of the Players Association.”
Appreciations of Seaver stretched beyond sports. Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey wrote, in part, that Seaver was “a giant, and his legacy will not soon be forgotten.”
Added Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York: “Tonight baseball fans and all New Yorkers mourn in unison. Tom Seaver was not only a baseball player — he was a Miracle Met who brought skill and honor to the game.”