Ron Swoboda knew from the start the Mets had something special.
Then a third-year outfielder with the team, Swoboda watched Seaver pitch his first game for the Mets in 1967 and couldn’t help but marvel at the right-hander’s talent.
“As soon as I saw him pitch the first time, I said to myself, ‘He has Hall of Fame stuff,’ ” Swoboda said Wednesday, after it was announced the 75-year-old pitcher had died from complications of dementia and COVID-19. “He just has to accumulate those numbers to get into the Hall.”
The Mets had been the laughingstock of baseball in the five seasons before Seaver arrived, but that was about to start changing.
“When he joined us as a rookie, he pitched like a 35-year-old,” Ed Kranepool said. “He had a great head on his shoulders. We became a different team when he walked into the locker room in 1967.”