The MLB world was saddened Wednesday night with the news regarding the passing of Hall of fame pitcher Tom Seaver. Seaver passed away in his sleep on Monday at the age of 75. Regarded as one of the best pitchers in MLB history, he pitched during what is the golden age for starting pitchers as he played with the likes of Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, and Gaylord Perry, all of whom would win 300 or more games. Although Seaver is remembered most for his time with the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds, his short time with the White Sox was invaluable to the team.
Seaver spent two and half of his 19 seasons with the White Sox, winning 33 of his 311 games in Chicago. He joined the White Sox before the 1984 season and has a forgotten role in of the most memorable games in team history that season. On May 9th, 1984, Chicago and Milwaukee would finish the longest game in American League history as Harold Baines hit a walk-off home run in the 25th inning to give the White Sox the victory. The game, which had started the day before, was suspended at 1 AM due to curfew. The game was finished later that day as a defacto doubleheader. Seaver came in to pitch the 25th inning picked up the win. Immediately following the victory, the two teams played their regularly scheduled game in which Seaver was the starter and picked up the win in that game, becoming the last starting pitcher to win two games on the same day.
A year later, the Hall of Fame pitcher would make history again, this time winning the 300th game of his career on August 4th, 1985. It is was a memorable day as Seaver pitcher a complete-game victory in Yankee Stadium with a crowd of New York baseball fans cheering him on. Former President Richard Nixon was in attendance while the Yankees had the Mets broadcasting crew that called Seaver’s games with the Mets make the final call that day. He would become the 17th pitcher in MLB history to reach the historic milestone and is the only White Sox player to achieve the feat.
The achievement is an important one for the White Sox because, during the mid to late 80s, the team had nothing historic happen for them. The South Side team’s claim to fame following the 1983 season was having Hall of Famers Harold Baines and Carlton Fisk. Seaver winning his 300th victory with Chicago is a special moment for many White Sox fans and is one of the more memorable moments in team history.
Seaver’s presence with the White Sox would also begin a team tradition of Hall of Fame or All-Star players joining the team in the twilight of their careers. Chicago would add another 300 win pitcher in Carlton in 1986, but he had already joined the 300 club in 1983 with the Philadelphia Phillies. Other Hall of Famers and perennial All-Stars to play for the White Sox have been Roberto Alomar, Jose Canseco, Manny Ramirez, Ken Griffey Jr, Jimmy Rollins, Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, Adam Dunn, and Bo Jackson.
Although it was less than three seasons with the White Sox, Seaver is still considered a significant player in the team’s history and culture. Chicago would have little to celebrate from 1983 to 1993 other than their small group of All-Stars, and it is that reason why Seaver’s achievement was so vital to the team in the long run.
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