Forty-three years ago today, Tom Seaver learned the first thing he'd have to do upon his return from a well-earned beach vacation was make some room in his trophy cabinet. On October 29, 1969, Jack Lang, executive secretary of the Baseball Writers Association of America announced that Seaver received 23 of 24 possible first place votes in the organization's annual Cy Young Award balloting, making him the first New York Met to win the coveted plaque.
For the year, Seaver won an MLB-best 25 games, which accounted for exactly one-quarter of the Miracle Mets' 100 regular season victories and remains the franchise's single-season record. He also struck out 200+ batters for the second straight season and came within a tenth of a run of topping Juan Marichal for the lowest ERA in baseball. Value stats don't like Seaver's '69 nearly as much as the BBWAA did, but seeing as WAR was roughly forty years away from being calculated for the first time, let's give the writers a pass.
As an aside, the one pitcher other than Tom Seaver to garnish a first place Cy Young vote in 1969 was Phil Niekro, so there is precedent when it comes to writers supporting the candidacy of knuckleballers. That's something that will hopefully work in the favor of...
- R.A. Dickey! May Dickey be praised on this the anniversary of his birth. In human years, R.A. is 38 years young. However, to R.A. the Sun God, age is immaterial. As a deity, he has existed since time immemorial and will continue to break off knee-bending knucklers long after we mortals have gone the way of the dinosaurs. Granted, Dickey's unique status means that there aren't comps to guide long-term deal negotiations, but whatever amount R.A. wants for a minimum of 500 years seems like a good place to start. Make it happen, Sandy!
- Also with a birthday today is Karim Garcia, who turns 37. The outfielder got into 62 games, hitting seven home runs and slugging .401, for the 2004 Mets in his final MLB season. The Latino Bambino, as he's nicknamed, is still plugging away in the Mexican League, however. In 2012, he played alongside former Mets farmhands Michel Abreu and Robinson Cancel on Sultanes de Monterrey.
Two transactions involving members of the Greatest Infield Ever happened on October this date. By dint of their league-worst record, the Mets won exclusive negotiating rights to Cuban defector Rey Ordóñez via a special lottery held on October 29, 1993. Scouts raved about the shortstop's glove at the time, with one telling the Times that "he's better defensively than any shortstop in the American League." Ordóñez made his MLB debut on Opening Day 1996 and won the first of three consecutive Gold Gloves one season later.
In 1999, John Olerud became a free agent. The Mets had hoped to lock up the smooth swinging, slick fielding first baseman before he declared, but Olerud chose to test the market. Ultimately, he chose to sign with the Seattle Mariners, his hometown team.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall somewhere along the East Coast today. Despite sharing a name with the Mets' current GM, it's probably wise for all readers in the storm's path to heed the (paraphrased) words of his predecessor Omar Minaya and have an (emergency) plan and like that plan should things turn for the worst.