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Archive for Thursday, January 9, 1992

January 9, 1992

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At least one Lawrence resident had special cause for celebration after Tom Seaver's election to the Baseball Hall of Fame was announced Tuesday night.

James Seaver, a retired history professor at Kansas University, is the famous ex-pitcher's uncle.

``We're just delighted,'' Seaver said. ``We're hoping to go to Cooperstown and see the induction ceremony. I understand it's very interesting.''

James Seaver's brother, Charles, is Tom's father.

Seaver said he wasn't surprised by his nephew's success, but said that long ago, the pitcher's future in baseball didn't appear promising.

``When Tom was very young,'' Seaver said, ``he was always in the backyard and my brother was always throwing baseballs to him. We were somewhat concerned when Tom was growing up. He had this ambition to be a baseball player from the time he was a child, yet he was quite small. We wondered whether that would be a problem.

``BUT FORTUNATELY, when he got to be a teen-ager, he became bigger and heavier. It wasn't until sometime in late high school that he was big enough to have power in his pitching. He went to USC and got strong enough.''

Seaver's nephew eventually blossomed into a 6-foot-1, 220-pounder.

Seaver noted that while pitching for the Mets, Tom finished his college degree in broadcast journalism, which may have paid off in his current job as a New York Yankees broadcaster.

``He always had a eye for the future,'' said Seaver, who taught at KU from 1947 to 1989. ``We're very proud for Tom. He's been a very good representative of our family.''

Seaver is proud now, but he was concerned about his nephew last fall.

``He had lyme disease,'' Seaver said. ``He was quite sick until they diagnosed it properly. He was in the hospital.''

But he's fine now, even better after receiving a record percentage of votes in being elected to the Hall on his first try.

``I THINK that was a surprise,'' the elder Seaver said of the record 98.8 percentage. ``We're delighted of course. We think it's wonderful. We're going to write Tom right away. I plan to call my brother today.''

The pitcher spent most of his career in the National League, with the New York Mets and Cincinnati, so Seaver wasn't able to see him pitch in person very often.

``We used to see him when he came down here to pitch when he was with the White Sox,'' Seaver said. ``I think he's very fortunate. He was very interested in baseball from the time he was very young, when he was 4 or 5.''

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