HOF Profile: Tom Glavine

tom_glavineThroughout the 1990s the Atlanta Braves were one of the best teams in baseball and they are still considered one of the best teams assembled. It would all start in 1990 when the Braves moved Bobby Cox from the executive box to the dugout as the team’s manager. The move coincided with a number of other major moves for the team as well. In the late 1980s a trio of young pitchers were maturing and ready to become one of the best rotations in the game. In 1991, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Steve Avery would be recognized as the best group of young pitchers in the MLB. That same year a young shortstop, who later played third base and outfield, would be rising through the ranks in the minor league system. The Braves were on the rise and after finishing the 1990 season as the worst team in baseball they would complete one of the greatest turnarounds in MLB history. They would go from the worst team in the league losing 97 games in 1990 to winning the West division with 94 wins in 1991. That momentum would carry them to the World Series, which they would lose, but more than that it would start one of the most dominant periods in the MLB. The Braves would go on to win their division every year from 1991 until 2004. One of the biggest reasons for this dominance was a rotation of home-grown talent in Avery, Glavine, and Smoltz along with the addition of Greg Maddux. This group would account for every Cy Young Award from 1991 to 1996, although Maddux would win in 1992 as a Cub. One of these homegrown talents was Tom Glavine who was drafted by the Braves in 1984 and would rise through the ranks to be a part of this dominant rotation. This year the Hall of fame will honour this team and the run that they had when three key members of the 1990s Braves enter the hall. Glavine will join fellow pitcher Greg Maddux and manager Bobby Cox in a year where Atlanta’s dominant era is sure to take focus. For being a key member to this era Glavine will enter the Hall of Fame as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball.

Much like his counterpart in Maddux, Glavine was a pure control pitcher who did not have the power to blow pitches by batters. That lack of power would make some overlook him in the 1984 draft as the Braves would take him in the second round. Glavine only took three years to get the majors and joined Avery and Smoltz as a great young rotation. There were struggles though as Glavine’s first full year in the MLB, 1988, saw the young pitcher lose 17 games. That would not last long though as Glavine turned things around in his next season winning 14 games. In 1991 Glavine had one of his best seasons winning 20 games and earning a 2.55 ERA to win his first Cy Young Award. The first Cy Young marked the beginning of the turnaround for Atlanta. Glavine continued his strong play as a member of a great rotation that became the only competition for the Cy Young Award. He would prove his worth more than ever in 1995 with the Braves in the World Series and Glavine leading the way. The Braves would win their third championship in franchise history behind the arm of Glavine who won the World Series MVP Award Glavine after posting a 1.61 ERA throughout the playoffs. In 1998 Glavine broke through to win his second Cy Young Award after another 20-win season with a 2.47 ERA. After spending 16 seasons in Atlanta Glavine would leave for New York where he spent one full season before returning to the Braves during the 2008 season to end his career.  Glavine’s ability to control the ball was a theme among the rotation in Atlanta and as one of the leaders of a great rotation during a dominant period Glavine earned his spot in the Hall of Fame.

tom_glavine

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