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On This Date in Sports June 16, 1978: Tom is Terrific

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At long last Tom Seaver throws a no-hitter, blanking the St. Louis Cardinals as the Cincinnati Reds win 4-0 at Riverfront Stadium. The No-Hitter comes one year after he was traded by the New York Mets in a stunning midnight deal. With the Mets, Seaver came close to perfection in 1969 and had another no-hitter broken up in the ninth inning in 1972.

Tom Seaver did it all for the Mets helped turn perennial losers into contender and champions. His arrival in 1967, singled the team’s coming of age as he won the Rookie of the Year. Two years later, as the Miracle Mets won the World Series, Seaver won the first of three Cy Young Awards, earning the nickname Tom Terrific. He also had 9 straight seasons of 200 strikeouts with the Mets. However, the team never had a No Hitter and it seemed destined that the franchise Tom Seaver would be the first. In 1969 he had a Perfect Game broken up by Jimmy Quals in the ninth three years later Leron Lee broke up a No-Hitter in the ninth as he pitched five one hitters in New York.

On June 15, 1977, as part of the Midnight Massacre the Mets dealt Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for Dan Norman, Pat Zachary, Steve Henderson, and Doug Flynn. The Mets went into a seven-year stretch where they lost at least 90 games, the lone exception being the strike year of 1981 and it is likely they would have lost 90 that year as well. Seaver finished third in Cy Young balloting in 1977 as he went 14-3 after the trade, finishing 21-6 overall.

As the 1978 season began Tom Seaver was holding on at 7-4 as he prepared to take on the St. Louis Cardinals in a Friday Night home start. The Cardinals were off to a terrible start that season, sitting in last place at 23-42 under new manager Ken Boyer. John Denny had been their top starter and entered the game at 6-4 opposing the Reds managed by Sparky Anderson. Tom Seaver’s worst inning was the second, as he issued two walks one to Keith Hernandez the other to Ken Reitz, however, he got Mike Phillips to end the inning on a grounder to second. Denny was just as sharp as the Reds were held hitless through the first four innings.

In the fifth inning, the Reds bats awoke as Cesar Geronimo led off with a single. Don Werner, was playing for an injured Johnny Bench at catcher followed with a single to setup the Reds to score the first run. After Seaver failed to get down the bunt, Pete Rose came up and gave Cincinnati a 2-0 lead on a double. The hit was the second straight game that he had hit. Not headline-making at the time, but Rose was on a 44-game hitting streak to equal the National League record. Pete Rose would later score on a double by Joe Morgan. In the sixth inning, the Reds made it 4-0 on a leadoff home run by Dan Driessen. Tom Seaver meanwhile was not overpowering as he only had three strikeouts, but the Cardinals could not touch him. Looking to finally get a No-Hitter, Seaver walked leadoff hitter Jerry Mumphrey but settled down a Lou Brock flew to left. Meanwhile, Garry Templeton reached on a forceout, while George Hendrick grounded to first to end the game, giving Tom Terrific his only career No Hitter.