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EXCERPT | August 12, 1985
A Pitcher's Grail
Tom Seaver got what Randy Johnson wants: 300
His greatest days were with the Mets, but Tom Seaver was pitching for the White Sox when he became the 17th big leaguer to win 300 games. He would win 11 more before retiring in 1986 and would make the Hall of Fame with 98.8% of the vote, the highest percentage ever. Craig Neff was at Yankee Stadium the day Seaver got his milestone victory.
When the ball plopped into the glove of leftfielder Reid Nichols, Tom Seaver doubled over in relief. Then he did a little jump for joy. Teammates were surging forward, and 54,032 people were cheering, but for a moment he was alone, not knowing quite what to do. He was back in New York, where it all started, but the scene was a bit strange—his uniform said sox across the chest. Seaver had just beaten the Yankees 4--1 to win his 300th major league game. It was another masterpiece in a gallery 19 years in the making, and the artist had only that brief instant to savor his work before the patrons arrived.
His catcher, Carlton Fisk, lifted him off the ground, and the celebration began. Fans began chanting "Sea-ver, Sea-ver" as he was mobbed by his teammates. Fisk even gave him a fleeting kiss on the cheek before Seaver broke away and went to his wife, Nancy, and his daughters, Sarah and Anne, in their field-level box. "Piece of cake," he told them.
Actually, it was a deftly shaded work of art that might have been entitled, Sunday in the Park with George Thomas Seaver. He scattered six hits, walked one, struck out seven and got out of jams by mixing speeds and using guile. At 40, Seaver remains baby-faced, but he is the artist as an older man.
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