Seaver’s Kryptonite

SEAVER’S KRYPTONITE

Every pitcher has his/her Kryptonite.

Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, the greatest pitcher of his generation, is no exception.

MetsRewind drilled deep to research Seaver’s career and uncovered his greatest adversaries position-by-position (with a criteria of a minimum of 50 at-bats). The data below includes regular season batting results only.

First Base: Tommy Hutton
Batting Average: .320 (16-for-50)
Home Runs: 3
RBI: 15

In 24 games, Hutton batted .320 against Tom Seaver. Hutton posted a career .248 batting average, but batted .333 or higher in six of the nine seasons (1972-1977 and 1979-1981) he faced Seaver. It should be noted that Bob Watson batted .323 against Seaver, but not all of his AB/hits were as a first baseman.

Second Base: Joe Morgan
Batting Average: .304
Home Runs: 5
RBI: 11

Morgan was one of the most consistently successful hitters against Seaver, despite playing in another division. Overall, Morgan batted .304 with 5 HR and 11 RBI (36 games).  Morgan was very selective when he faced Seaver, compiling more walks — 22 — than any other in history against No. 41. In fact, Morgan walked three times in his first nine plate appearances.

Shortstop: Tommy Helms
Batting Average: .351
Home Runs: 0
RBI: 1

Tommy Helms was the Cincinnati Reds shortstop (and utility infielder) before Dave Concepcion arrived. Over his 14-year career Helms collected 20 hits against Seaver, compiling the third highest batting average (.351) against him. Note: Concepcion fell just short of the minimum criteria, posting 46 at-bats and a .391 (18-for-46) batting average against Seaver and a .491 on-base percentage in 18 games.

Third Base: Larry Parrish
Batting Average: .310
Home Runs: 4
RBI: 10

Larry Parrish collected more hits against Tom Seaver than any other third baseman. Parrish batted .310 (18-for-58) in nine seasons against Seaver.

Outfielder: Rick Monday
Batting Average: .349
Home Runs: 11
RBI: 17

Rick Monday gave Tom Seaver fits when it came to the long ball. Monday hit 11 home runs against Seaver, the most Seaver gave up against any opponent. Over 10 seasons (1972-1982) vs. Seaver he racked up a .791 slugging percentage. There is an oddity here: Monday went nearly hitless in two seasons vs. Seaver. In 1972 and 1975 combined, Monday was 1-for-15 against Seaver.

Outfielder: Willie Davis
Batting Average: .389
Home Runs: 4
RBI: 14

No one hit Tom Seaver better than Willie Davis. The one-time Mets OF played 30 games against Seaver (1967-76) and collected 42 hits in 108 at-bats for a .389 batting average. Davis hit .350 or higher in six of the 10 seasons, hit safely in 27 of 30 games and compiled 11 multi-hit games.

Outfield: Matty Alou
Batting Average: .359
Home Runs: 0
RBI: 5

Matty Alou posted the second highest batting average against Tom Seaver, hitting .359 (28-for-78) in 24 games played. Alou also had a .419 OBP against Seaver.

Catcher: Ted Simmons
Batting Average: .297
Home Runs: 3
RBI: 11

When it comes to Ted Simmons, the question should not be who hit Seaver well, but who couldn’t Simmons hit? The former Cardinals and Brewers catcher had more hits against Seaver than any other catcher in history  (33-for-111). Simmons also had a .373 on-base percentage in 37 games against Seaver.  Simmons’ best year against the righty was 1972 when he collected seven hits in 13 plate appearances (.636 average/.692 OBP).

Pitcher: Ray Sadecki
Batting Average: .500
Home Runs: 0
RBI:
0

Sadecki faced Seaver nine times in three games. Sadecki collected three singles, a pair of walks, and a sacrifice bunt, He batted .500 and had a .625 on-base percentage.

HONORABLE MENTION

Steve Ontiveros hit .500 (9-for-18) against Seaver with two home runs and two RBI in only 10 games. Ontiveros also drew ten walks versus Seaver (for a .679 OBP).  In a nine-plate appearance streak against Seaver (from May 7, 1974 – August 22, 1975) Ontiveros got on base nine straight times (six walks, two singles, one home run).

Terry Puhl would be the starting DH in this lineup against Seaver. In 17 games, Puhl hit .444 (20-for-45) with two HR and eight RBI against Seaver.

John Tamargo had the most plate appearances against Seaver without ever being retired.  In four plate appearances over two games, he had two singles, a double and a walk. Tamargo was a .242 career hitter. On the other side of the coin, among non-pitchers, Rance Mulliniks had the most plate appearances against Seaver without ever getting on base – zero-for-sixteen, with seven whiffs, over five games.

Only 16 players in major league history batted .300 or higher against Tom Seaver (with a minimum of 50 at-bats). Many of those are listed above as the top hitter by position. Here is the rest of list (Baseball-Reference):

THE STENGEL REPORT
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National League baseball in New York was redefined on March 6, 1961 when the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club Inc. formally received a certificate of membership from leave president Warren Giles. Of the 30 Major League Baseball clubs today, the case could be made that no other team has a more compelling franchise history than the New York Mets. From Casey Stengel to Yogi Berra, Marv Throneberry to Tom Seaver, Willie Mays, Tug McGraw, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, Bobby Valentine, Pedro Martinez and Matt Harvey, the Mets are loaded with character(s). Then there are the Amazin’ seasons — 1962, 1969, 1973, 1986, 2000, 2006-2008 and 2015 — full of miracles, joy, hope and heartbreak. Mets Rewind is designed for that purpose: To share team history in a distinct and entertaining format. We hope you — the baseball fan — enjoy the content. We encourage you to share your memories.
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