EXCERPT | August12, 1985
Tom Seaver gotwhat Randy Johnson wants: 300
His greatest dayswere with the Mets, but Tom Seaver was pitching for the White Sox when hebecame the 17th big leaguer to win 300 games. He would win 11 more beforeretiring in 1986 and would make the Hall of Fame with 98.8% of the vote, thehighest percentage ever. Craig Neff was at Yankee Stadium the day Seaver gothis milestone victory.
When the ballplopped into the glove of leftfielder Reid Nichols, Tom Seaver doubled over inrelief. Then he did a little jump for joy. Teammates were surging forward, and54,032 people were cheering, but for a moment he was alone, not knowing quitewhat to do. He was back in New York, where it all started, but the scene was abit strange—his uniform said sox across the chest. Seaver had just beaten theYankees 4--1 to win his 300th major league game. It was another masterpiece ina gallery 19 years in the making, and the artist had only that brief instant tosavor his work before the patrons arrived.
His catcher,Carlton Fisk, lifted him off the ground, and the celebration began. Fans beganchanting "Sea-ver, Sea-ver" as he was mobbed by his teammates. Fiskeven gave him a fleeting kiss on the cheek before Seaver broke away and went tohis wife, Nancy, and his daughters, Sarah and Anne, in their field-level box."Piece of cake," he told them.
Actually, it was adeftly shaded work of art that might have been entitled, Sunday in the Parkwith George Thomas Seaver. He scattered six hits, walked one, struck out sevenand got out of jams by mixing speeds and using guile. At 40, Seaver remainsbaby-faced, but he is the artist as an older man.
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From JackMcCallum's essay on players like Kobe Bryant taking last-second shots:
I'd bet every NBAcoach would rather have a big-player-for-the-big-moment option, as opposed torelying on a play with various alternatives. With the clock running down, thecrowd on its feet, the defense ready to inflict bodily harm on any player whodrives near the hoop and the refs likely to swallow their whistles, you wantthe ball in the hands of the truly elite. As Nets coach Lawrence Frank said,"You can put stuff on the blackboard, but it's about the player not theplay."
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On the Cover
The 300 Club
June 25, 1956
Warren Spahn was closing in on 200 wins when SI asked,"Are lefties human?" He would end up with 363, a record forlefthanders.
May 17, 1982
Gaylord Perry, who was known more for doctoring theball, won 314 games, getting No. 300 with Seattle, his seventh team.
Oct. 3, 1983
Steve Carlton, another lefty, won his 300th under afull moon, then bolted without talking to the press, as was his style.
Now on SI.com
For a gallery of baseball's 300-game winners and tofind every cover and article that has appeared in SI, go to SI.com/vault
Photograph by RONALD C. MODRA
STILL TERRIFIC Left unprotected by the Mets in a free-agent compensation draft before the 1984 season, Seaver was plucked by the White Sox and went 31--22 over the next two years.
MARVIN NEWMAN (SPAHN)
JOHN IACONO (PERRY)
MANNY MILLAN (CARLTON)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (BRYANT)
DAVID BERGMAN (BRADY)
CHUCK SOLOMON (LEE)
JOHN BIEVER (GARCIA)
ERICK W. RASCO (BLACKBERRY)
GREG NELSON (HOWARD)
DAVID E. KLUTHO (CLEARY)
JEFF KAVANAUGH (HORSE)