"I would like to be a great artist. I would quit pitching if I could paint like Monet or Rousseau. But I can't. What I can do is pitch, and I can do that very well." - Tom Seaver (Biography, IMDB.com)
George Thomas Seaver was born to Betty Lee Cline and Charles Henry Seaver on November 17, 1944 in Fresno, California. He attended Fresno High School where he played baseball and basketball. He was an All-City basketball player and showed great control on the mound. He lacked in size and strength with his pitching, but hoped to one day play baseball in college. After high school Seaver United States Marine Corps Reserves in June 1962 and after six months of active duty he enrolled in Fresno City College.
Seaver had grown stronger and now threw with speed and still maintained that same control he had shown in previous years. He was being recruited by Trojan coach Rod Dedeaux for the University of Southern California (USC). In 1964 the coach was still unsure of whether or not he was deserving of a scholarship, Tom was sent to pitch for the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks, Alaska. After an amazing season he was on his way to USC with his scholarship in hand. In his Sophmore year he had a 10-2 record and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in June 1965. Seaver asked for $70,000 and the Dodgers passed. Then, in 1966 he was drafted number one by the Atlanta Braves, but the contract was voided by Baseball Commisioner William Eckert on the grounds that his college team had already played two games, although Seaver did not play in either. Seaver then looked to finish his college baseball season out, but was deamed ineligible by the NCAA because he had signed a pro contract.
Mitchell & Ness 1969 Authentic Wool Jacket
pictured above on Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver
Seaver's father complained about the unfairness of the situation and threatened Eckert with a law suit. Eckert then ruled that other teams would have the opportunity to match the Braves offer. Three teams were willing to match the offer that the Braves had put on the table: the Mets, Phillies and Indians. The Mets won the lottery and were awarded the contract with Seaver.
(Former Mets Mike Piazza and Tom Seaver throw out the first pitch at Citi Field
which replaced Shea Stadium as the home of the Mets)