LEGENDARY AMATEUR CHARLIE SEAVER DIES AT 93
04 Nov 2004
PEBBLE BEACH, October 25 -- Legendary California amateur golfer Charles Seaver, father of baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, passed away Monday morning near his home in Pebble Beach at the age of 93.
Charlie (as he was affectionately known) was one of just two people ever to hold the California Amateur, Northern California Golf Association (NCGA) Amateur and Southern California GA (SCGA) Amateur titles at the same time. Seaver won the 1933 state and Northern California titles and added the SCGA Amateur to his resume in 1934. The timing of the events meant that, for a few weeks, he had all three trophies in his possession. (George Von Elm won all three titles in 1925).
In 1998, the SCGA and NCGA began the biennial Seaver Cup competition and named the permanent trophy in Seaver's honor. The fourth set of matches will be held Nov. 2-3 at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.
Born in Kansas City, Seaver moved to California with his parents in 1912, a year after he was born. His father, Everett, was a fine amateur golfer himself, winning the 1908 Trans-Mississippi Amateur and the 1920 SCGA Amateur. Everett served as SCGA president in 1928; Charlie, who moved to Fresno after graduating from Stanford, would become NCGA president in 1980.
Charlie Seaver entered his first tournament at the age of 9 (with a 30 handicap), and won The Los Angeles CC Invitational at age 15. In 1930, he lost a U.S. Amateur semifinal match to Gene Homans; Homans went on to lose to Bobby Jones the next day, as Jones completed his "Grand Slam" with an 8 & 7 triumph. "I got to play Bobby Jones three times," recalled Seaver decades later, "but not the most important time."
Seaver competed on the 1932 U.S. Walker Cup team, going 1-0 in foursomes and 1-0 in singles at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., as the U.S. won 8-1 over a team from Great Britain and Ireland.
After Seaver moved to Fresno (where, among other things, he noted that it was at his suggestion that cereal companies tried putting raisins into cereals), he continued to play amateur golf. "I had to go to work," he said in 1998 with a smile. "Professional golf wasn't the lucrative sport back in the 1920s and 1930s that it is today."
Seaver captured the Fresno City title six times in the 1940s and won the 1949 Northern California Open. He played 39 times in the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am (now known as the AT&T National Pro-Am) at Pebble Beach, finally winning the team title in 1964 while paired with Mike Fetchick, the 1956 Western Open champion.
Charlie's first wife, Betty, died in 1986 on their 51st wedding anniversary. In addition to his son, Tom (who won 311 games with the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox and was elected to the Hall of Fame the first year he was eligible), Charlie is survived by his wife, Barbara, and daughters Katie and Carol.
Services were held in Carmel on Friday, October 29, 2004.