Tom Seaver: ‘The Mets have a pretty good record of things to be proud of’

Hall of Famer and 311-game winner Tom Seaver visited Citi Field Wednesday as part of the Mets’ Alumni Association Presented by Citi — the franchise’s ongoing commitment to honor its history and serve the community. Seaver was among the Mets greats who joined 25 U.S. military veterans and the Wounded Warrior Project for a tour of the new Mets Hall of Fame and Museum. During the game, Mets alumni worked alongside Citi’s Veterans Employee Network and staffers from the New York City Military Network to encourage fans at Citi Field to make a card for service members recovering from injuries sustained in battle or preparing for deployment. Seaver spoke with Sporting News’ Chris Bahr about his involvement with the alumni and military, as well as his career and the game.

'The Mets have a pretty good record of things to be proud of,' Tom Seaver says.
‘The Mets have a pretty good record of things to be proud of,’ Tom Seaver says.

Sporting News: As far as the Mets Alumni Association, how enjoyable has it been reconnecting with some of the team’s all-time greats?

Tom Seaver: Any friendships — inside or outside the game — being able to reconnect and tell all those war stories about the game that we love, it’s fun to do. It’s rewarding to do. It takes us back to our youth. It’s just good memories, and it’s fun to share all of that stuff.

SN: How special is the Wounded Warrior Project that you are associated with and participated in today?

TS: It gets me because I’m very proud to say that I’m a Marine as well. I’m not a Marine that saw active duty in a situation where someone was shooting bullets at me, but there is a Marine Corps spirit, and we had a lot of Marines here today. One of the young Marines asked me, "What’s your service number," and I said, "1972265, sir." And he goes, "Yeah, you’re a Marine." You always end it with a ‘sir.’

SN: How often do you think you’ll be back to Citi Field this season?

TS: I work for the Mets about 10 days, so I make three or four trips. I’m in California now. … (The travel’s) not that big a deal, non-stop it’s not that big a deal.

SN: Having played in Shea Stadium, what are your thoughts about Citi Field and the museum?

TS: The professional tour (of the museum today), I think a lot of guys were seeing it for the first time. I’d never been in there, but there are a couple of articles of mine that are on the wall. One of the things that’s really been important about the Met organization is the realization that, yes, it’s relatively a short baseball history they have compared to the National League and American League clubs that were here. But the Mets have a pretty good record of things to be proud of — two world championships. They should relish that, show that stuff off. For a relatively young franchise, it’s a wonderful history.

SN: You’re a 311-game winner. Jamie Moyer has 259 wins, and Andy Pettitte has 231. No other active pitcher has more than 200 wins. Is 300 wins a plateau that we might not see many more pitchers reach?

TS: It would be a real aberration if somebody reaches it. There are two factors to that. First is the economics of the game. If you have that much invested in somebody, you’re not going to take the chance of letting them get hurt (from overuse). Longevity is the other. You’re going to have to pitch 20 years at least. And if you get that far, you will have made X amount of dollars, so why do I have to play anymore? That’s as big an issue as any.

SN: What’s your take on the Mets’ rotation this year?

TS: The thing I’d like to see is the guys pitch a little bit longer. But that’s probably true across the board. And one thing the older players forget, we always say, "Oh, I always pitched 7 2/3 (innings)." That wasn’t the reality of it. I think the economics of it is a big issue. They have so much money tied up, and they just can’t afford to have somebody hurt. … I look for a reason to keep a pitcher in the game, not take him out. A guy like Johan Santana has that foxhole mentality.

SN: What’s your take on pitch counts?

TS: I had a pitch count, too. It was my pitch count. People assume, "Oh, you didn’t have a pitch count." But I most certainly did. … It didn’t come about in my first year. It’s something you develop. My pitch count was between 125 and 135. After 135 — that doesn’t mean I never pitched beyond that point because I’m sure I did — but that’s when I began to run out of gas. (Jerry) Koosman was probably 145, Nolan (Ryan) was probably 155. It’s not a blanket pitch count; it’s an individual pitch count. I got to a point where I knew how many pitches I had going into the last nine outs. To remind myself, "Don’t throw nine pitches to the No. 8 hitter." You’re gonna need them for the No. 3. Pitch count was an issue; it just wasn’t spit out by a computer.

SN: Put yourself in your prime. Who are some of today’s hitters you’d like to face? How would you pitch to them?

TS: You’d have to give me (Albert) Pujols. (Derek) Jeter would be good. I’d go to my strength and say, "Can you hit the sinking fastball at the belt buckle?" If you prove to me that you can hit that one, then I’ve got to do something else. If you can’t prove to me that you can hit it, you’re not going to see much else.

SN: What do you miss most about the game now that you’re retired?

TS: A 3-2 pitch, bases loaded, and a fastball that you throw through the eye of the needle down and away on the outside corner. The execution and the thought process to get there.

Chris Bahr is Sporting News’ baseball editor. E-mail him at cbahr@sportingnews.com.

Sponsored link: Mets tickets available

Hall of Famer and 311-game winner Tom Seaver visited Citi Field Wednesday as part of the Mets’ Alumni Association Presented by Citi — the franchise’s ongoing commitment to honor its history and serve the community. Seaver was among the Mets greats who joined 25 U.S. military veterans and the Wounded Warrior Project for a tour of the new Mets Hall of Fame and Museum. During the game, Mets alumni worked alongside Citi’s Veterans Employee Network and staffers from the New York City Military Network to encourage fans at Citi Field to make a card for service members recovering from injuries sustained in battle or preparing for deployment. Seaver spoke with Sporting News’ Chris Bahr about his involvement with the alumni and military, as well as his career and the game.

'The Mets have a pretty good record of things to be proud of,' Tom Seaver says.
‘The Mets have a pretty good record of things to be proud of,’ Tom Seaver says.

Sporting News: As far as the Mets Alumni Association, how enjoyable has it been reconnecting with some of the team’s all-time greats?

Tom Seaver: Any friendships — inside or outside the game — being able to reconnect and tell all those war stories about the game that we love, it’s fun to do. It’s rewarding to do. It takes us back to our youth. It’s just good memories, and it’s fun to share all of that stuff.

SN: How special is the Wounded Warrior Project that you are associated with and participated in today?

TS: It gets me because I’m very proud to say that I’m a Marine as well. I’m not a Marine that saw active duty in a situation where someone was shooting bullets at me, but there is a Marine Corps spirit, and we had a lot of Marines here today. One of the young Marines asked me, "What’s your service number," and I said, "1972265, sir." And he goes, "Yeah, you’re a Marine." You always end it with a ‘sir.’

SN: How often do you think you’ll be back to Citi Field this season?

TS: I work for the Mets about 10 days, so I make three or four trips. I’m in California now. … (The travel’s) not that big a deal, non-stop it’s not that big a deal.

SN: Having played in Shea Stadium, what are your thoughts about Citi Field and the museum?

TS: The professional tour (of the museum today), I think a lot of guys were seeing it for the first time. I’d never been in there, but there are a couple of articles of mine that are on the wall. One of the things that’s really been important about the Met organization is the realization that, yes, it’s relatively a short baseball history they have compared to the National League and American League clubs that were here. But the Mets have a pretty good record of things to be proud of — two world championships. They should relish that, show that stuff off. For a relatively young franchise, it’s a wonderful history.

SN: You’re a 311-game winner. Jamie Moyer has 259 wins, and Andy Pettitte has 231. No other active pitcher has more than 200 wins. Is 300 wins a plateau that we might not see many more pitchers reach?

TS: It would be a real aberration if somebody reaches it. There are two factors to that. First is the economics of the game. If you have that much invested in somebody, you’re not going to take the chance of letting them get hurt (from overuse). Longevity is the other. You’re going to have to pitch 20 years at least. And if you get that far, you will have made X amount of dollars, so why do I have to play anymore? That’s as big an issue as any.

SN: What’s your take on the Mets’ rotation this year?

TS: The thing I’d like to see is the guys pitch a little bit longer. But that’s probably true across the board. And one thing the older players forget, we always say, "Oh, I always pitched 7 2/3 (innings)." That wasn’t the reality of it. I think the economics of it is a big issue. They have so much money tied up, and they just can’t afford to have somebody hurt. … I look for a reason to keep a pitcher in the game, not take him out. A guy like Johan Santana has that foxhole mentality.

SN: What’s your take on pitch counts?

TS: I had a pitch count, too. It was my pitch count. People assume, "Oh, you didn’t have a pitch count." But I most certainly did. … It didn’t come about in my first year. It’s something you develop. My pitch count was between 125 and 135. After 135 — that doesn’t mean I never pitched beyond that point because I’m sure I did — but that’s when I began to run out of gas. (Jerry) Koosman was probably 145, Nolan (Ryan) was probably 155. It’s not a blanket pitch count; it’s an individual pitch count. I got to a point where I knew how many pitches I had going into the last nine outs. To remind myself, "Don’t throw nine pitches to the No. 8 hitter." You’re gonna need them for the No. 3. Pitch count was an issue; it just wasn’t spit out by a computer.

SN: Put yourself in your prime. Who are some of today’s hitters you’d like to face? How would you pitch to them?

TS: You’d have to give me (Albert) Pujols. (Derek) Jeter would be good. I’d go to my strength and say, "Can you hit the sinking fastball at the belt buckle?" If you prove to me that you can hit that one, then I’ve got to do something else. If you can’t prove to me that you can hit it, you’re not going to see much else.

SN: What do you miss most about the game now that you’re retired?

TS: A 3-2 pitch, bases loaded, and a fastball that you throw through the eye of the needle down and away on the outside corner. The execution and the thought process to get there.

Chris Bahr is Sporting News’ baseball editor. E-mail him at cbahr@sportingnews.com.

Sponsored link: Mets tickets available

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