Seaver spends Father's Day with fans
Hall of Famer fielded fans' questions online from Shea Stadium
Former Mets ace Tom Seaver shared some of his favorite baseball memories during an online chat from Shea Stadium on Sunday. Seaver talked about being in the Hall of Fame, how pitching has changed from his playing days and shared his thoughts about the current Mets team.
Daniel_Fontanez: Tom, I grew up wearing a "Seaver" jersey and No. 41. Thank you for great memories! After listening to your commentary on SNY concerning Randy Johnson's pitching problems, is there any chance of you becoming a pitching coach?
Tom Seaver: Good morning! Happy Father's Day to all of you out there. Don't forget to wish your father a Happy Father's Day!
Seaver: When I finished playing, I always thought I would be in the game doing one thing or the other. Managing or being a pitching coach. I think that window has long since passed and after 40 years of being involved in baseball I am very happy to be pursuing other endeavors. My wife Nancy may not agree with me since I am spending more time at home.
Base_Ball: If a Mets pitcher was to throw a no-hitter this year, who do you think it will be?
Seaver: It wouldn't be me. If you have to pick one pitcher, you would have to pick Pedro Martinez. Almost every time he goes out there he has that kind of stuff and the potential to go for a no-hitter.
Base_Ball_2: What's it like to be in the Hall of Fame?
Seaver: It's better than a sharp stick in the eye! It's not that boring sitting around having dinner with Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, Johnny Bench, etc.
krnsaber: How do you feel about the current Mets team right now?
Seaver: Omar Minaya's done a good job putting this team together and when you have good pitching, very much like the '69 championship team, you have a chance to win every time you take the field.
scottmattes: What are your thoughts on Pedro's current slump?
Seaver: One of the things about a great pitcher -- and Pedro's in that class -- is that even though they are not at the top of their game, they give you a chance to win and that's what he is doing.
sstzelda: How has pitching changed from the time you played to now?
Seaver: As far as I am concerned, it's too cookie cutter and based more on statistics, for instance, pitch count. Teams/managers look for reasons to take their pitcher out instead of leaving them in. There is more to the game than just the physical aspects. Desire to win, knowing how to win and a fox hole mentality are just as important.
sstzelda: What do you think about Lastings Milledge ?
Seaver: I have not seen him play. Reports are great on his ability, but it will be a while before he is eligible for the Hall of Fame!
sstzelda: If you could pitch now, what batter would you like to face?
Seaver: If I could pitch now, I would like to face a hitter who couldn't hit a 68 mph fast ball. For 61 years old, that's not too bad!
sstzelda: Do you still announce?
Seaver: Only from the shack on the hill. After 40 years it's nice to not have to jump on an airplane every weekend.
Stephen_K: Did you get upset when you got traded to the Reds?
Seaver: How could you be upset when you are traded to a team with Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, etc.?
james_stockley: What was your favorite victory as a Met?
Seaver: I think the last game of the World Series in 1969 by Jerry Koosman. Just being in uniform and winning the world championship for the first time is a lifetime dream come true. From a personal standpoint, too, many to pick from. If I had to pick one game, 12 innings in Los Angeles, I left with the score 1-1, struck out 16, back when we had no pitch count to come out of the game. I can still see it, the middle of the game, I hung a slider to Steve Garvey about right here (gestures belt high) and he hit a home run.
sstzelda: How does it feel to be known as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history?
Seaver: Just being mentioned in the conversation is enough. Do you want to make a starting staff? You can have the first five picks and I will have what is left to pick from and it will still be a toss up which staff is best.
skyco: You were able to pitch to three of the greatest catchers in baseball history -- Jerry Grote, Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk. How did that impact your career -- if at all?
Seaver: Many times I've said I had great catchers and you have to get inside each other's mind. Bench came to the mound one day in Cincinatti after I had given up four hits and three runs on about six pitches, never took his mask off, and asked me, "Are you trying?" [He] then turned around and left and I cracked up laughing, exhaled, and I think we won the game 4-3.
Base_Ball_2: Where was your favorite place to pitch?
Seaver: It's probably an odd answer, but I think I would say Fenway Park. As a kid I always loved the history of the game and Fenway Park wreaks with it. And the structure itself is a piece of art, full of history.
Ernie_Stahl: Good morning, Tom. What was going through your mind when you found out that you were going to be in the Hall of Fame?
Seaver: What's wrong with this equation? These were things that happened to other people. Very simply an impossible dream come true.
dan_smith: Hey Mr. Seaver, how did you prepare for your starts?
Seaver: I was very finicky about diet, sleep, exercise in preparation, and drove Nancy absolutely bonkers.
skyco: Now as a veteran of the Hall of Fame, what do you think the chances are of Gil Hodges finally being enshrined by the Veterans Committee?
Seaver: Gil's been voted on twice by the Veterans Committee and has had about the same percentage both times as he did when he was first voted on by the writers. I voted for him both times because of his consistency and how important he was from a leadership standpoint to the great Brooklyn Dodgers teams. And some have overlooked what a fine defensive player he was.
sstzelda: If you could give advice to a young kid that maybe doesn't play as well as the other kids, what would it be?
Seaver: Have fun! That's what the game is all about when you are a kid. And if your coach will let you, play all positions.
sstzelda: What game did you pitch in where you felt the worst physically going into the game?
Seaver: There was one day in Toledo, Ohio, I think vs. the Toldeo Mudhens. There was no fowl play and I threw up during the national anthem. Thank God I was in the bullpen -- it wasn't pretty!
Daniel_Fontanez: I hope you are enjoying spending time back home producing wine. Northern California is such a beautiful area. Thank you for coming back every so often to see us.
Seaver: Thanks for your best wishes. I am very lucky. I get almost as much enjoyment and satisfaction from being a farmer as I did from baseball and there are very few road trips.
jefffire24: Do you have any advice for an over-40 pitcher to stay competitive? You were my idol since I was 5 years old and still play baseball in an organized league. Any advice?
Seaver: One, don't give up your day job! And two, remember the words of Jerry Koosman, "High and tight, low and away, and knock somebody on their butt". Go get 'em Tiger!
londontexanmet: Hi Tom. Thanks for doing this. Do you think this is our year, or do you think we need to add others?
Seaver: So far so good. It it ain't broke, don't fix it. Tip your hat to Omar here.
rmutt4m: Good morning, Tom. I'm a grandfather now, but I was 10 and in that prime age for baseball when the Mets won the '69 series. You were one of my heroes. Time passes quickly, does it not?
Seaver: Yes it does my man. Happy Father's Day! Coming from a grandfather four times over. Four grandsons and I'm pulling on the gene pool.
Base_Ball_4: Do you still keep in touch with Buddy Harrelson?
Seaver: I see him four or five times a year and "hi roomie" are always the first words from both of us. As a matter of fact, I'm playing golf with him tomorrow and look forward to taking a couple of bucks from him.
Ernie_Stahl: How do you feel about Interleague Play?
Seaver: Good question. I hated it when it started, I was too much of a traditionalist, but in most cases I think it's great for the game and the fans. Yankees/Mets, White Sox/Cubs, Royals/Cardinals -- great stuff. Some are a stretch, Mariners/Padres for example.
sstzelda: Do you think Tom Glavine deserves to be in the All-Star Game this year?
scott1879: Where would you rate David Wright on the all-time best Mets third basemen list?
Seaver: A year and a half does not make a career, stay tuned and don't miss the rest.
Nikhil_Gupte: Tom, when did you realize you had to change from a power to a changeup/slider pitcher?
Seaver: A slider is a power pitch.
Mets Moderator: What is the stupidest thing you've done in your career?
Seaver: I put my right fist through a plate glass window in Toronto after I was knocked out of a game. Thank God I didn't get hurt!
Tim_Verge: If you could meet a player that you always wanted to meet, who would it be?
Seaver: Impossible to pick one, but the group would be Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner.
Seaver: Thanks to all of you for participating in the chat this morning. Sorry I couldn't get to all your questions. I am off to the Mets Team Store at Shea to meet some fans. Happy Father's Day! Lets go Mets!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.