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1975: Seaver Proves Fallible

Coming into 1975, Seaver has 7 straight years of 200+ Ks. He'd add another that year, but faltered in the All Star Game.
Coming into 1975, Seaver has 7 straight years of 200+ Ks. He'd add another that year, but faltered in the All Star Game.

In 1975, Tom Seaver had another stellar season of his already legendary career. He managed a league-leading 22 wins for an 82-80 team that, apart from Dave Kingman and Rusty Staub, was offensively challenged. That total included 15 complete games and 5 shutouts. He pitched 280 innings and led the National League in strikeouts with 243. He posted a miniscule WHIP of 1.088 and a whopping K/BB ratio of 2.76. When all was said and done, he won his third Cy Young award handily.

He was named NL Pitcher of the Month for June after notching four victories and posting an ERA of 1.08. By the All Star Break, he had 13 wins. Of course National League manager Walt Alston named him to the All Star Team. Unfortunately, this marked one of the rare occasions in 1975 when Seaver did not pitch like an All Star.

The game took place at Milwaukee's County Stadium, now the Brewers's home turf, which gave it the odd technicality of hosting a Midsummer classic for two different teams (the first being the Braves during their time in Wisconsin). The game began with the odd note of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger tossing the first pitch out to the leading All Star vote getter, Rod Carew (coincidentally, like Kissinger, a graduate of New York's George Washington High School). From there, it proceeded as virtually every All Star Game had in recent memory, with the NL dominating.

The senior circuit carried a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth and turned to Seaver to hold it. If you watch the broadcast of this game (which can still be found in the recesses of, you can see The Franchise didn't quite look himself, as he appeared a bit gassed when he threw a few warmup tosses to Johnny Bench. It may have been because Seaver had just faced Bench's Big Red Machine two days earlier. Sure enough, the first pitch he threw in anger was lined into left by Oakland's Joe Rudi for a single. Seaver paid pinch runner George Hendrick no mind, and the Indians outfielder easily stole second.

Seaver still managed to make the next batter, Yankee Graig Nettles, look silly by striking him out on a pitch in the dirt, but he walked Gene Tenace of the A's to put two men on for Red Sox rookie sensation Fred Lynn. Seaver dispatched the youngster with a fly to right field, but he could not do the same with his veteran teammate, Carl Yastrzemski, who belted Seaver's first offering to the scoreboard in left-center field for a game-tying three-run homer. That got a big cheer out of the AL-leaning hometown crowd and a festive slide into a giant mug of beer from mascot Bernie Brewer. (Back then, Bernie was uncostume, clean shaven, and slid into fake suds rather than ending his display with a point to the fans.)

Seaver still had enough in the tank to fan Brewers slugger George Scott and end the inning, but he stalked off the mound shaking his head. This being the 1970s, the NL managed to rally for three runs in the top of the ninth. The comeback was helped in large part by another Met, John Matlack, who held the AL at bay with two innings of scoreless relief on four strikeouts. But it was a rare display of non-dominance from The Franchise, one of the few times in 1975 when he looked almost human.