Glavine hopes to enter Hall in good company
Lefty lands on first ballot with 305 wins over illustrious 22-season career
Tom Glavine is a candidate on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the first time. The results will be announced exclusively on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com live on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET as part of a three-hour live show beginning at noon. On Thursday, MLB.com and MLB Network will air the news conferences featuring the electees live from New York at 11 a.m. ET.
ATLANTA -- As he helped transform the Braves from cellar dwellers to annual October participants and journeyed toward his entrance into the exclusive 300-win club, Tom Glavine artfully constructed his Cooperstown resume.
When Glavine concluded his long and storied Major League career, there was no reason to wonder if baseball's Hall of Fame would reserve a place for him, to be immortalized alongside the game's other legendary figures.
The only question that has surrounded Glavine's candidacy has been whether the honor would be enriched by a first-ballot entry. The legendary left-hander will get the answer he's hoping for when the 2014 Hall of Fame class is announced on Wednesday.
Early projections have indicated that Glavine, his longtime Atlanta rotation-mate Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas will all gain first-ballot admission. A candidate must receive 75 percent of the vote from Baseball Writers' Association of America members to gain election.
"I'm not assuming anything," Glavine said in November. "I'm confident at some point in time it's going to happen. Whether it's on the first ballot, I don't know. We'll see. There are a lot of good players that are eligible. Would I love to have it happen on the first ballot? Sure. If it doesn't, I'd be disappointed. But we'll gear up for the following year, and hopefully, it will happen the following year."
If Glavine and Maddux are first-ballot inductees, they will be enshrined on the same day as their longtime skipper, Bobby Cox, who along with fellow legendary managers Tony La Russa and Joe Torre was elected by the Expansion Era Committee in December.
"If you get in and go in by yourself, you're proud," Glavine said. "But if you have the opportunity to go in with guys you spent a large chunk of your career with and guys people identify you with, to me that would be even more fun. Now you're able to experience it with guys who, by and large, went through it all with you -- or at least a big chunk -- and were instrumental in helping you along the way. To be able to share that with a couple of guys would be pretty cool. So hopefully, it will happen."
Glavine made his Major League debut for the Braves in 1987 and spent 17 of his 22 Major League seasons as a member of Atlanta's pitching staff. While pitching for the Mets from 2003-07, he completed his journey toward becoming one of just six left-handers in Major League history to record 300 wins.
During the five years since he retired, Glavine has had time to reflect on all he accomplished after choosing baseball instead of hockey, a career he could have had after the Los Angeles Kings drafted him with a fourth-round pick in 1984.
Armed with pinpoint command, unflappable poise and an intense competitive desire, Glavine went 305-203 with a 3.54 ERA in 682 career starts. He produced five 20-win seasons and was honored with the National League Cy Young Award in 1991 and '98. Glavine finished second for the award twice (1992 and 2000) and third twice (1993 and '95).
When Glavine arrived in Atlanta, the Braves were in the middle of a skid that would extend to seven consecutive losing seasons. But everything changed in 1991. And as Glavine worked his way toward his first 20-win season, he helped the Braves capture what would be the first of their record 14 consecutive division titles.
After falling short during their trips to the World Series in 1991 and '92, the Braves gave the city of Atlanta its first World Series championship in '95. The celebratory moment came after Glavine allowed one hit over eight innings in the decisive 1-0 Game 6 win over the Indians.
Although the Cy Young Awards and the 1995 World Series MVP honor provide tangible proof of Glavine's greatness, he looks back on his career and gains as much satisfaction from the fact that he made 672 career starts before making his first trip to the disabled list at the age of 42 in 2008.
"Obviously, you are measured so much by wins and losses," Glavine said. "I'm very proud of the 300 wins, but also being 100 games over .500. That is a pretty significant number in my mind. I think the thing that probably jumps out to me or that I'm proud of along with winning games was my durability."
After his bothersome left shoulder finally proved too painful, Glavine proudly walked away from his career with the understanding that he had positioned himself to receive baseball's greatest honor.
Glavine has kept himself busy while broadcasting some Braves games and devoting much of his time coaching his sons' hockey teams. But now that the five years of waiting are nearly complete, it will be hard for him to ignore the excitement and anticipation that accompanies this next Hall of Fame announcement.
"When I first retired, I knew it was out there," Glavine said. "But five years seemed like it was so far away. So in that respect, it's hard to believe five years have gone by already."