1 Achievement Tom Seaver Kind of Never Achieved in His Career
Tom Seaver led the league three times, including two with the New York Mets. Three times he was ERA’s leader in the National League. Then there were five times he had more strikeouts than anyone else in the league.
Seaver’s Baseball-Reference page has a lot of bold where you want to see bold: the far left and the far right. Three Cy Young Awards along the way, an achievement somehow hinted at Seaver.
These three categories constitute the Triple Crown for pitchers. Although he led the league several times in those stats, he was never the leader in all three at the same time.
Seaver’s 25 wins in 1969 led the way, but it was the only place he led the league in a Triple Crown stat. Juan Marichal had the league’s best ERA at 2.10 to Seaver’s 2.21. It was Ferguson Jenkins with 273 strikeouts that led the way from the 208 Seaver had.
Year after year, Seaver could never lead the league in the triple digits. Four times he managed to have two. In 1970, 1971 and 1973, Seaver won an ERA and strikeout title. Even with 20 wins in 1971 and another 19 in 1973, it wasn’t enough.
The 1975 season was the second time Seaver led the league in wins. With a record 243 strikeouts also on his resume, it was the 2.38 ERA that wasn’t good enough. Randy Jones had a 2.24 ERA this season.
It’s a rare feat to accomplish. Only 38 pitchers made it with many of them doing so over 100 years ago. Shane Bieber managed to accomplish it in the shortened 2020 campaign. Before him, Justin Verlander in the American League and Clayton Kershaw in the National League each did it in 2011.
The Mets have a Triple Crown winner in their history. Dwight Gooden’s legendary 1985 season saw him lead the league with 24 wins, 1.53 ERA and 268 strikeouts. It had been 13 years since anyone had accomplished that in either league. No one would do that again until Roger Clemens in 1997.
Seaver managed to accomplish more than most pitchers could ever dream of. To have so many years leading the league in wins, ERA, and/or strikeouts is pretty impressive. Unfortunately, it all never came together for a single season.