Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, who found a second career growing highly coveted Napa Cabernet, has died at 75. Seaver passed away in his sleep Monday night, from complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He had suffered from both dementia and Lyme disease for several years.
"We are heartbroken to share that our beloved husband and father has passed away," Seaver’s wife, Nancy, and daughters Sarah and Anne said in a statement. "We send our love out to his fans, as we mourn his loss with you."
The son of a California raisin farmer, Seaver grew up near Fresno. After serving in the U.S. Marines, he joined the New York Mets, winning the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1967. He went on to lead the Mets to the 1969 World Series Championship, and would win 311 games in his 20-year career, recording 3,640 strikeouts and winning the Cy Young Award three times. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.
Seaver had long enjoyed wine, and at an annual dinner for Hall of Fame members, he found a group of kindred spirits. "Sitting at my table one year were Bob Gibson, Don Sutton, Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton and Rollie Fingers. Everybody enjoyed wine, so I said, 'OK, boys, let's start having great wines at this dinner. Next year, bring a good bottle,'" he told Wine Spectator in 2005.
In 1997, Seaver found himself restless with semi-retirement. He and Nancy began looking for a place to farm. On a trip through Napa Valley, they found an overgrown parcel in the Diamond Mountain appellation, a sort of no-man's-land that had gone unnoticed for years. A “gold mine," he told Wine Spectator in 2013.
Stay on top of important wine stories with Wine Spectator's free Breaking News Alerts.
Once they hacked their way through the brush and trees, they discovered a breathtaking view, setting into motion what would eventually become Seaver's wine brand GTS (short for George Thomas Seaver), a Cabernet Sauvignon label. The first vintage tasted by Wine Spectator, the 2008, scored 97 points on the 100-point scale.
While he left much of the winemaking to others, Seaver eagerly dove into farming, spending his later years working in his vineyards. Seaver is survived by his wife, Nancy, their two daughters, Sarah and Anne, and four grandsons.