Major League Baseball is mourning the loss of one of its all-time greats.
It was announced Wednesday that Hall of Fame pitcher and New York Mets legend Tom Seaver died Monday after complications from Lewy body dementia and COVID-19.
Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke learned the news of Seaver’s passing after Boston’s 7-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park, and shared a personal story about his encounter with the late pitcher.
“I just found out a minute ago,” Roenicke said during his postgame Zoom conference. “That’s who I hit my first big league home run against. Tremendous pitcher. You know, I saw him at the end of his career. He wasn’t the same guy, but this was an unbelievable pitcher for so many years.”
Roenicke was with the Los Angeles Dodgers at the time, and after going yard for the first time, manager Tommy Lasorda offered to go up to Seaver and have him sign the ball.
Roenicke was hesitant at first, but ultimately let Lasorda do it. And Seaver wrote a light-hearted message on the baseball.
“He wrote, ‘Ron, why me? Tom Seaver,” Roenicke recalled.
Roenicke said he got lucky with the home run, and it perhaps was a foot fair and over the fence. He didn’t have many encounters with Seaver, but thoroughly enjoyed the wine the Mets legend makes at Seaver Vineyards.
“Great career, from what I heard great person,” Roenicke said. “I heard so many good things about him… tough when you lose somebody like that.”
Seaver was 75.
Thumbail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images