Perhaps no other day in Mets history shook the franchise to its core like this date in 1977 when the organization traded The Franchise.
Unthinkable to many, but anticipated by him, the Mets traded the best player – still to this day – Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher Pat Zachry, infielder Doug Flynn and outfielders Steve Henderson and Dan Norman.
Three days earlier, Seaver beat the Astros in Houston, 3-1, and after the game said: “This may very well be my last game as a Met.’’
Seaver went the distance that day, giving up five hits while walking two and striking out six to raise his record to 7-3 with a 3.00 ERA.
Seaver anticipated the trade when contract negotiations stalled with CEO M. Donald Grant. As Seaver became more frustrated, things finally boiled over when cantankerous New York Daily News columnist Dick Young, who publicly and loudly sided with Grant.
Unable to deal with Grant, Seaver went to then owner Lorinda de Roulet and GM Joe McDonald and reached agreement on a three-year extension. However, when Young wrote a column suggesting Seaver’s wife, Nancy, was pushing him to ask for more money, the pitcher called off the deal.
Wrote Young: “In a way, Tom Seaver is like Walter O’Malley. Both are very good at what they do. Both are very deceptive in what they say. Both are very greedy. … Nolan Ryan is getting more now than Seaver, and that galls Tom because Nancy Seaver and Ruth Ryan are very friendly and Tom Seaver long has treated Nolan Ryan like a little brother.’’
When the column hit the streets, Seaver knew it was time to leave.
In 2007, Seaver said: “That Young column was the straw that broke the back. Bringing your family into it with no truth whatsoever to what he wrote. I could not abide by that. I had to go.’’
Young also wrote, “A man lives up to his contract,’’ but four years later he broke his own contract with the Daily News and moved to the Post.