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Thread: BAD DAY NO. 5 ... MARCH 2, 1966: BRAVES, SEAVER GET SPIKED

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    Director of Minor League Reports rico43's Avatar
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    BAD DAY NO. 5 ... MARCH 2, 1966: BRAVES, SEAVER GET SPIKED

    FIFTH WORST DAY IN BRAVES HISTORY

    MARCH 2, 1966: BRAVES GET SPIKED

    Of all the What Ifs you could kick around the water cooler, there will never be a bigger one that this: What If Gen. “Spike” Eckert had a freaking clue about the sport for which he had been named Commissioner? Tom Seaver just might have been Hank Aaron’s teammate for a glorious run. Alas, it was not to be.

    A war hero beyond question, the owners of baseball felt that character would be more important than a grasp of the game when Eckert was named Commissioner to replace Ford Frick in November of 1965. So anonymous in baseball circle, there were stories that Eckert would actually show up at a ballgame and have no one know who he was.


    Unknown Solder?

    Sportswriters dubbed him, “The Unknown Soldier.”

    But he’ll always be known to Braves fans for Bad Day No. 5. It was he, and only he, who prevented Tom Seaver from having a career with the Braves. What If, indeed.

    The road to the March 2, 1966, began when Seaver was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the very first June draft – a 10th round pick in 1965. With his father acting as his agent, Seaver had a major asking price of $70,000, a number the Dodgers could easily meet, except for a budgetary coincidence: they had just settled a high-profile and costly holdout with aces Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax. So Seaver was content to enroll at the University of Southern California.

    For a number of year, Major League Baseball also held a January draft, and the newly moved Atlanta Braves grabbed Seaver in the first round of the Secondary Phase, 20th overall. That draft took place on January 29, and the Braves did their level best to secure the right-hander, and Seaver signed a contract with Atlanta on February 24, getting a $40,000 bonus. He was immediately assigned to Richmond, one step below the majors.

    Not so fast, spoke up Eckert. The Trojans had played a pair of exhibition games, neither of which Seaver participated in, but the Commissioner ruled that the Trojans had started their season, which meant Seaver was not eligible to sign. On March 2, six days after he became a Brave, his contract was voided. The Braves were fined $500.


    What Might Have Been...

    He intended on returning to the Trojans, but the NCAA ruled him ineligible for signing a pro contract, even if he did not collect a nickel of the signing bonus. Eckert was perfectly content to let the young player dangle in the breeze, but Seaver’s father was about to bring a large lawsuit against MLB to allow his son to play.

    So a compromise was reached. Any team that was willing to match Atlanta’s $40,000 bonus would be able to sign him. But three teams stepped forward – the Mets, the Indians and the Phillies. On April 2, 1966, the three teams were written on scraps of paper and Eckert literally pulled the Mets out of a hat.

    And the rest is Mets history.
    Last edited by rico43; 07-29-2016 at 01:45 AM.

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    50PoundHead (06-03-2016), Bob Moose's Corvette (08-18-2016), BornaBrave (06-03-2016), buck75 (06-03-2016), clvclv (06-03-2016), CyYoung31 (06-03-2016), dak (06-04-2016), DaneHill (06-04-2016), FreemanFan (06-03-2016), goldfly (09-15-2016), Knucksie (06-04-2016), Metaphysicist (06-03-2016), Tapate50 (06-05-2016), zedsdead (06-11-2016)

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    Shift Leader CyYoung31's Avatar
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    I hate the Mets.

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    cajunrevenge (06-03-2016), rico43 (06-03-2016), Tapate50 (06-05-2016)

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    It's OVER 5,000! cajunrevenge's Avatar
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    So this commisioner bull**** has been going on since 1966?
    Joe Biden for Prison 2020!

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    CyYoung31 (06-03-2016)

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    Called Up to the Major Leagues
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    The first kick that my mother felt in the womb must have been the effects of this whole scenario.

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    CyYoung31 (07-02-2016)

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    Hessmania Forever
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    This really stunk. I always wonder if this had anything to do with the Braves leaving Milwaukee.

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    Director of Minor League Reports rico43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 50PoundHead View Post
    This really stunk. I always wonder if this had anything to do with the Braves leaving Milwaukee.
    Payback? That's a very interesting scenario, one I hadn't really thought about. Thanks.

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