ATLANTA -- Tom Glavine helped transform the Braves from cellar dwellers to annual October participants and journeyed toward his entrance into the exclusive 300-win club.
When Glavine concluded his long and storied Major League career, there was no reason to wonder if Baseball's Hall of Fame would eventually 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 will be enriched by a first-ballot entry. The answer will be revealed with the Jan. 8 announcement of the 2014 Hall of Fame class, which is almost assuredly going to have a definite Braves presence.
Glavine and his longtime Braves teammate, Greg Maddux, join Frank Thomas as the most notable players who will be on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year.
If Glavine and Maddux both gain first-ballot entries, they could be enshrined on the same day as their longtime manager, Bobby Cox, who joins Tony La Russa and Joe Torre as the three legendary managers eligible for induction via the results of the ballots cast by a 16-member Expansion Era Veterans Committee.
Cox will learn if he is one of the three candidates chosen by this committee on Dec. 9, during the first day of the Winter Meetings. It would seem to be fitting for Atlanta's celebrated skipper to share this honor with two of the men -- Glavine and Maddux -- who played significant roles in the success that the Braves had in reaching the World Series five times during the 1990s.
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 that he accomplished after opting to choose baseball instead of the hockey career that 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. The legendary lefty produced five 20-win seasons and was honored with the National League Cy Young Award in 1991 and 1998. He finished second for the award twice (1992 and 2000) and third twice (1993 and 1995).
When Glavine arrived in Atlanta, the Braves were in the midst of a skid that would extend to seven consecutive losing seasons. But everything changed in 1991. As he made his way toward his first 20-win season, he helped the Braves capture what would be the first of 14 consecutive division titles.
After falling short during their trips to the World Series in 1991 and 1992, the Braves gave the city of Atlanta its first world championship. The celebratory moment came after Glavine allowed one hit over eight innings in the decisive 1-0 Game 6 win over the Indians during the 1995 World Series.
While the Cy Young Awards and the 1995 World Series MVP honor provide tangible proof of the greatness he experienced, Glavine 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.
After his bothersome left shoulder finally proved too painful for him to persevere, 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 toward 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.
----- Source: MLB.com
Tom Glavine along side Joe Simpson and Chip Caray.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt