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TRIVIA WINNER: Congrats to Thomas Streib of Vero Beach Fl who correctly named the 1960 San Francisco Giants as having the worst of the Giants NL records during the 1960s with 79 wins. The Prize: Starbucks Gift Card.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Two teams drafted Tom Seaver before he eventually signed with the Mets. Name at least one of those teams who drafted him but failed to sign him.
ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: The Giants worst season in the 1960s when it came to their win-loss record was 1960 when they only won 79 games.
From the very beginning watching Tom Seaver pitch was a joy, even for fans of opposing teams. The smooth, yet dominant and controlled style of the master of the Mets, was truly something to behold. You knew Seaver, coming out of USC was something special.
His debut came on April 13th, 1967 in front of ONLY 5,005 fans in New York. The Mets usually drew a lot more but this was a Thursday Day Game and New Yorkers were at work.
While Seaver didn't get his first Win until his second game, his first game was one Matty Alou of the Pirates gave the young pitcher fits. It was the second game of the 1967 season when the Pirates came a'calling to Shea Stadium. Alou, the 1966 batting champ led off the game with a double. Welcome to the big leagues Mr. Seaver. Seaver got through the inning with a walk to Wilver Stargell and his first strike out of his career; Donn Clendenon to end the first.
A Jerry Buchek two-run homer off Woody Fryman gave Seaver his first lead, 2-0. It would be all he would get, but not what he would need.
He would strikeout Bill Mazeroski and Gene Alley in the second but in the third was exposed again to Alou. Alou, the middle of the famous Alou brothers, led off with a walk. Maury Wills singled him to second and Roberto Clemente singled him home. The first earned run Seaver gave up was to another Hall of Famer. It was 2-1. Stargell and Clendenon were strike out victims.
In the fourth, Alley and Fryman were strikeout victims but here again Alou was Seaver's nemesis. With two out and a walk to Jesse Gonder, Seaver hit Alou with a pitch to put runners at first and second. Wills tied the game with a single, 2-2.
The Mets went on to rally behind Estrada who picked up the win 3-2. Seaver's first game line was pretty impressive. He went 5.1 innings gave up 6 hits, 4 walks only 2 runs and struck out 8 Pirates. He also got a hit in his only official AB and drew a Walk in his first plate appearance. Not bad for the 22-year old future star. Seaver could not be blamed for having issues with Alou. He would finish the season .338 but of his six times being Hit by Pitch, two were issued by Seaver that first start.
His next start was impressive. It was exactly a week later on April 20th and again a small crowd in New York saw him win no. 1. Only 5379 fans were at Shea that day. Seaver went 7.1 innings, allowing 8 hits, 0 Walks, and only one run in striking out 5 on his way for his rookie season 16-13 record and ROY honors. He completed 18 of 34 starts with a 2.76 ERA with 170 K's in 251 innings. It was the start of something BIG.
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