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Tom Glavine

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Tom Glavine
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Tom Glavine

A photo of Tom Glavine.

Thomas Michael "Tom" Glavine (born March 25 1966 in Concord, Massachusetts) is an American Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the New York Mets. During the 1990s Glavine, a left-hander, was one of the winningest pitchers in the National League. He is a five-time 20-game winner and two-time Cy Young Award winner. He is also known as an excellent fielding and hitting pitcher. He became the 23rd pitcher to win 300 games on August 5, 2007 (only the 5th lefthander, joining Warren Spahn, Steve Carlton, Ed Plank, and Lefty Grove).

High School YearsEdit

Raised in Billerica, Massachusetts, Glavine attended Billerica Memorial High School, where he was an excellent student and a letterman in ice hockey and baseball. He was a four-year member of the honor roll and the National Honor Society. In hockey, as a senior, he was named the Merrimack Valley's Most Valuable Player. In baseball, he led his team to the Division I North Title and the Eastern Massachusetts Championship as a senior. Glavine graduated from high school in 1984 with honors. He was elected to the BMHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.

Post High-SchoolEdit

Glavine was drafted by both the Los Angeles Kings in the 1984 NHL amateur draft (in the 4th round, 69th overall—five rounds ahead of future NHL star Luc Robitaille), and the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball organization in the 2nd round of the 1984 amateur baseball draft. Tom elected to play baseball and made his Major League debut on August 17, 1987.

Atlanta BravesEdit

Glavine enjoyed good times and bad times during his first several years in the majors, compiling a 33-43 record from 1987 to 1990, including a 17-loss performance in 1988.

Glavine's fortunes turned around in 1991, when he won 20 games and posted a 2.55 ERA. It was his first of three consecutive seasons with 20 or more wins, and saw him earn his first National League Cy Young Award. Glavine was the ace on the 1991 Braves' starting rotation that also included Steve Avery, Charlie Leibrandt, and another future NL Cy Young Award winner, John Smoltz. His season helped ensure a dramatic reversal in the Braves' competitive fortunes as they won the National League Pennant and earned a trip to the World Series, but lost to the Minnesota Twins in seven games. In this era of the diminishing 20-game winner (there were none in the majors in 2006), Glavine became the last major league pitcher – and the only pitcher active in 2007 – to win 20 games three consecutive years (1991-1993).

Atlanta, long thought of as a perennial cellar dweller, was lifted in the 1990s into one of the most successful franchises in the game on the strength of its stellar pitching staff and solid hitting. After the Braves acquired Greg Maddux from the Chicago Cubs in 1993, Glavine, Maddux, and John Smoltz formed one of the best pitching rotations of the decade. Among them, they won seven Cy Young Awards during the period of 1991 to 1998. Glavine won his second Cy Young Award in 1998, going 20-6 with a 2.47 ERA. Years later, after Glavine joined the Mets and Maddux played for the Padres, the three (along with Smoltz who still pitched for Atlanta) all recorded wins on the same day, June 27, 2007.

In 1995, the Braves would defeat the Cleveland Indians in 6 games in the 1995 World Series, and Glavine would be named the Series MVP. Glavine won two games during that series: Game 2 and Game 6. In Game 6, he pitched eight innings of one-hit shutout baseball; in fact, the only run in that game was a solo 6th inning home run by David Justice of the Braves.

Glavine won a championship with the Braves in 1995, and also went to four other World Series (with the Braves in 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1999).

New York MetsEdit

In 2003, much to the chagrin of many Braves fans, Glavine left Atlanta to play for the rival New York Mets, signing a four-year, $42.5 million deal. For the first time since 1988, Glavine failed to win 10 games, also posting his first losing record in that span, 9-14. Glavine enjoyed a personal highlight at the end of the season when the Mets called up his brother, Mike, for the end of the season. Glavine began 2004 well, highlighted by a May 23 one-hit shutout of the Colorado Rockies and selection to the National League All-Star team. However, he struggled in a second half marred by losing his front teeth in a car accident while riding in a taxicab. He went on to post another losing record, going 11-14.

He started off 2005 slowly, but rebounded after advice from pitching coach, Rick Peterson, who encouraged Glavine to begin pitching inside more often (including a change up in) and incorporate a curveball into his repertoire. His turnaround helped him earn National League Pitcher of the Month in September. He finished the season with a 13-13 and a 3.53 ERA.

Glavine returned to his old form during the 2006 season, as he finished one victory shy of the National League lead in wins and was selected to the 2006 National League All-Star team. That season he became the first Mets lefthander in nearly 30 years to start at least thirty games in four consecutive seasons. Glavine and the Mets got a scare in August of that season. Glavine's pitching shoulder was tested for a blood clot due to the fact that he is suffering from coldness in his left ring finger. This was originally thought to be a symptom of Raynaud's syndrome, which Glavine was diagnosed with in 1990 but, according to the pitcher, doctors "...picked something up when they did the ultrasound." The results of the test showed that the problem could be treated with medicine and Glavine resumed pitching on September 1, 2006 against the Houston Astros.

Glavine finished the 2006 season with a 15-7 record and 3.82 ERA as the Mets won the National League Eastern Division allowing Glavine to make his first playoff appearance as a Met. Glavine started Game 2 of the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching six shutout innings and surrendered only four hits to pick up the win, as the Mets went on to sweep the series from the Dodgers. He then started Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals pitching seven shutout innings to pick up the win. Glavine's postseason scoreless innings streak ended in his next start, as he suffered the loss in Game 5 while the Mets went on to drop the series to the Cardinals in seven games.

Glavine re-signed with the Mets for the 2007 season needing only 10 wins to reach 300 wins for his career. He started his fourth Opening Day game as a Met to open the 2007 season. Glavine won his 299th game on July 25, 2007. He won his 300th game on August 5, 2007 for the New York Mets at Wrigley Field Chicago (score, 8-3) in a 6 1/3 inning stint, becoming the 23rd pitcher (and only the 5th lefthander) to win 300 games. Based on the manner in which the game is played, he may be the last one to ever reach this milestone. His record at that point was 300-197. He was honored by the Mets with "Tom Glavine Day" at Shea Stadium on Sunday, August 12, 2007 and was given the honorary key to the City by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. When Glavine won his 301st game 6-2 in Washington on August 17, 2007 (yielding 1 run in 7 innings), he moved into 21st place on the all-time list (ahead of Lefty Grove and Early Wynn), and into 4th place on the all-time list of lefthanders (ahead of Grove).

Pitching styleEdit

Glavine, a left-hander, has gradually lost velocity over the course of his career. He continues to be an effective starting pitcher in the National League by using his excellent control and deception, switching speeds, and locating pitches off the outside corner of the strike zone. His most common approach is to begin by locating his circle changeup off the outside corner, then follow with alternating fastballs and changeups to confuse the hitter. While batters frequently make contact with his pitches, the substantial movement he places on them makes drives very soft, resulting in easily fielded ground balls and infield flyouts. Glavine's consistency is also highlighted by his durability; since his first full year in 1988, he has started at least 25 games every year. In addition to his excellent changeup and well-controlled fastball, Glavine has a plus-curveball, a slider, and a tailing two-seam fastball, though some contend that due to its relatively slow velocity, it more resembles a shuuto. Despite being a left-handed pitcher, Glavine is often more effective against right-handed batters. Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully noted that this attribute is likely due to Glavine pitching from the extreme right edge of the pitching rubber.

Like longtime Atlanta teammate Greg Maddux, Glavine has been one of the better-hitting pitchers of his generation. He is a career .188 hitter -- decent for a modern pitcher -- and has hit over .200 in eight seasons, with a career best of .289 in 1996. He has a good eye, drawing a high number of walks, which combined with his hits have given him a career on-base percentage of .246. Because Glavine gets on base almost a quarter of the time he bats, opposing pitchers have never been able to treat him as an automatic out in the lineup. In 2004, Glavine walked as often as he struck out (10 times each), another remarkable feat for a pitcher. Glavine is also an excellent bunter. His 201 sacrifice bunts prior to 2007 ranks 2nd among active players to Omar Vizquel. Glavine has four Silver Slugger Awards, ranking him second all-time for pitchers behind Mike Hampton.

Player's Union representativeEdit

Starting in 1991, Tom Glavine served as the Atlanta Braves team representative to the Major League Baseball Players Association, succeeding former National League Most Valuable Player and Braves icon Dale Murphy in the position. Prior to and during the 1994 Major League Baseball strike, Tom Glavine was heavily involved in negotiations between the union and team owners and was frequently interviewed and quoted in the press about the talks. Ultimately, the strike caused the cancellation of the 1994 World Series and lasted 7 1/2 months. When play resumed in 1995, Glavine was frequently booed by Atlanta Braves fans for his role in the player's union and was criticized for it in the local Atlanta press. Glavine, now a member of the New York Mets, currently serves as the National League player's representative. [1]

See alsoEdit


  • 10-time All-Star (1991-93, 1996-98, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006)
  • 2-time National League Cy Young Award winner (1991, 1998)
  • Finished 2nd in National League Cy Young award voting (1992, 2000)
  • Finished 3rd in National League Cy Young award voting (1993, 1995)
  • Finished 10th in National League MVP voting (1992)
  • Finished 11th in National League MVP voting (1991)
  • Finished 14th in National League MVP voting (2000)
  • Finished 21st in National League MVP voting (1998)
  • Finished 24th in National League MVP voting (1993)
  • World Series MVP Award (1995)
  • 5-time National League leader in wins (1991-93, 1998, 2000)
  • 4-time Silver Slugger winner (1991, 1995-96, 1998)
  • Only pitcher to throw two shutouts at Coors field. He did so while with Atlanta

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Doug Drabek
National League Cy Young Award
Succeeded by:
Greg Maddux
Preceded by:
Paul Molitor
World Series MVP
Succeeded by:
John Wetteland
Preceded by:
Paul Molitor
Babe Ruth Award
Succeeded by:
Cecil Fielder
Preceded by:
Pedro Martínez
National League Cy Young Award
Succeeded by:
Randy Johnson


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