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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Mets win rights to sign Tom Seaver
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

April 3, 1966

The season hasn't started yet, and the New York Mets already are big winners. In a special lottery, the Mets win out over the Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies -- the only three teams who had agreed to match the Atlanta Braves' original offer of $40,000 -- for the rights to sign USC right-hander, Tom Seaver.

The special drawing is held because Commissioner William Eckert had ruled Seaver's signing by the Braves' Richmond farm team, for a $40,000 bonus, was illegal. Atlanta had drafted Seaver. Eckert nullified the contract and fined Richmond $500 because USC already had started its season. Baseball rules say that a player can't be signed off a college campus once his team has started playing.

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