Tom Seaver: Atlanta Brave

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And now for my second Tom Seaver reference in an hour.

Mark Armour is a fabulous baseball researcher. He’s the man in charge of the Society for American Baseball Research’s indispensable Baseball Biography project. He also just finished what stands to become the definitive book on Joe Cronin, one of the major figures in baseball history. It’s coming out on April 1st, and you should probably order it.

But he has decided to add “pain in my butt” to his resume, as he sent me an email reminding me that yesterday was the 44th anniversary of the Braves ill-fated signing of Tom Seaver:

Seaver grabbed the attention of big league scouts after going 10-2 as a
sophomore at the University of Southern California in 1965. He was
drafted in the 10th round of the very first Major League Baseball June
Amateur Draft that year by the Dodgers, but could not come to an
agreement with the team.

Less than a year later, on Feb. 24,
1966, Seaver signed a $40,000 contract with the Braves. But just six
days after Seaver signed, Commissioner William “Spike” Eckert ruled
that the Braves’ contract was void because USC’s baseball season was
still in progress. Suddenly, Seaver was a man without a team.

It would probably only appeal to Mets fans and some Braves deadenders like me, but someone should write an alternate history describing what would have happened to the respective franchises if Seaver had been allowed to join the Braves.

Ah, forget it. Ted Turner probably would have just traded him for a warm bucket of spit and some Montana ranch land in 1976. Better that the Mets did it in 1977.

Jason Vargas fractured his non-pitching hand

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Mets left-hander Jason Vargas has a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand, the team announced Sunday. Vargas sustained the injury after taking a comebacker off of his hand on Friday and is expected to consult with a hand specialist later today as the team settles on a course of action. Comments from GM Sandy Alderson indicate that surgery is a possibility, though the left-hander may also pitch through it for the time being.

Vargas, 35, signed a two-year, $16 million pact with the team last month. He completed a four-year run with the Royals in 2017, earning his first career All-Star nomination with an 18-11 record in 32 starts and producing a 4.16 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 6.7 SO/9 over 179 2/3 innings. Prior to the incident, the southpaw was expected to help fill out the back end of the Mets’ Opening Day rotation.

Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News estimates that Vargas will likely miss the start of the season as he faces a two- to six-week recovery period. It’s a disappointing turn of events for a pitching staff that has been absolutely ravaged by injuries over the last couple of years.