Revisiting the Mets-Reds Trade That Sent Franchise Icon Tom Seaver to Cincinnati

Tom Seaver
Cincinnati Reds starter Tom Seaver | Rich Pilling/Getty Images

Hall of Fame starting pitcher Tom Seaver is likely the greatest player in the history of the New York Mets and one of the best right-handed starters of all time. Seaver led some excellent Mets teams in the late 60s and early 70s, winning three Cy Young Awards along the way, but the franchise hit the skids in the mid-1970s.

Determining that getting back a haul of prospects for their best player was the way to get back into contention, the Mets traded Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds.

Seaver was traded to Cincinnati in exchange for infielder Doug Flynn, left fielder Steve Henderson, outfielder Dan Norman, and pitcher Pat Zachry.

Zachry had the best career of the four, as the 1976 Rookie of the Year and 1977 All-Star pitched for a decade in the bigs, including a six-year stint with the Mets in which he posted a 3.63 ERA. Henderson would hit .280 over a 12-year career, but only four of those years came with the Mets.

Norman played for five years in bits and pieces. While Flynn played for 11 years, his .238 batting average, seven home runs, and 59 OPS+ are legendarily bad. His -6.9 bWAR is the lowest ever for a position player, and in many ways, he represented New York's down years with pride.

Seaver, meanwhile, pitched for six years in Cincinnati, putting up a 3.18 ERA in that span. Seaver made two All-Star teams, and finished top five in Cy Young voting twice as a Red. Yeah, he had more left in the tank than you likely remembered.

Who Won The Trade?

While the Reds did trade Seaver back to the Mets in 1983, Cincinnati clearly won this trade. The Mets got two decent players and two busts out of this deal, while Seaver gave the Reds six years of quality production. If Seaver didn't return to the Mets and become associated with them in retirement, this would have been a disaster for New York.