Mar 25, 2016

Hall of Fame Pitcher: Tom Glavine (The Mets Years: 2003-2008)

Thomas Michael Glavine was born on March 25th, 1966 in Concord, Massachusetts. The six foot left handed pitcher was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January of 2014.

He was the winningest pitcher of the 1990's, a two time Cy Young Award winner, a five time twenty game winner, a five time NL Pennant winner, an eight time All Star & onetime World Series champion. Glavine was also a long time Player Union Representative since 1991 replacing the Braves Dale Murphy in the position.

Glavine was an excellent control pitcher, with the ability to fool hitters by changing speeds & location of his pitches often during an at bat. He was also a good hitting pitcher with a career .186 batting average, one HR 25 doubles, two triples, 93 runs scored & 90 RBIs. After falling off in the second part of the 2002 season & losing two games in the post season, the Braves refused to offer Glavine the extra year he wanted in his contract.

Fred Wilpon pampered Glavine & his wife around New York & offered him a four year 42.5 million dollar deal to come to New York. All of a sudden the former Mets rival was now a team mate & the fans had to root for him.

The calm soft spoken Glavine came to New York, making his Mets debut wearing uniform #47, on Opening Day 2003 at a cold windy Shea Stadium game against the Chicago Cubs. There was a lot of excitement in the air but it didn't go that well. Glavine walked the lead off batter & gave up three straight hits, it was 2-0 before the first out & 4-0 by the end of the first inning. The Mets lost 15-2 that day with Glavine taking the loss. centerfieldmaz was there.

His next outing was better, he allowed one run over five innings as New York beat the Montreal Expos 3-1 for his first Mets win. Glavine won his next two starts as well, including a seven inning , three run outing to beat the Florida Marlins on April 20th. In May he had a strong outing in San Francisco, going into the 9th inning allowing just one run, as the Mets beat the Giants 5-1.

On May 24th he returned to Atlanta wearing a Mets uniform, receiving mixed reviews from the crowd. Mostly they were appreciative of his years of service & winning efforts with the Braves. He pitched his heart out that day, but was knocked out in the 4th inning after serving up six runs, taking another loss. From there he lost five straight decisions, eight of nine & was at 6-11 at the start of August.

On September 19th he served up the first & only grand slam of his career, to Jose Vidro in a loss to the EXpos. It was clear the Mets were going nowhere this year as they finished 66-95 last in the NL East. Glavine went 3-3 the final two months finishing up a disappointing 9-14 with a 4.52 ERA in 32 starts.

He improved a bit in 2004, starting out the season by beating his old Braves team mates in Atlanta, with a two run two hit, six inning performance. He earned win #2 in Montreal later that week, with a one run seven inning outing to beat the Expos 4-1.

On April 16th he shut out the Pirates over seven innings but got no decision after the bullpen (Orber Moreno, Mike Stanton & David Weathers) allowed seven runs in the 8th inning, blowing his shut out.

On May 23rd, Glavine threw a spectacular one hitter at Shea Stadium, to beat the Colorado Rockies 4-0. He struck out a season high eight batters while walking only one. He bested his record to 6-2 was named to the All Star team in a Mets uniform & things were looking good. Then he was involved in a taxi cab car accident, getting slightly injured while losing his front tooth. He was shaken up off the field & on the field his second half went downhill.

Unfortunately he would win just five more games all year & lose twelve. At the end of June into early July he lost five straight games, while giving up four runs or more three times in a row.

He closed out August with a six inning one run victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 27th. He also closed out the season on October 3rd, with another one run six inning performance, this time beating the Montreal Expos.

The Mets finished the year in fourth place & the Art Howe era came to an end. Glavine went 11-14 with a 3.60 ERA, striking out 109 batters while walking 70 in 212 innings pitched (tenth most in the NL) over 33 starts.

In 2005 the Mets showed much improvement going into the season, some of the credit goes to Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson who suggested he pitch more inside & use a curve ball more often. The new manager was Willie Randolph & the GM Omar Minaya landed Pedro Martinez as the new ace of the staff as well as star outfielder Carlos Beltran.

Pedro began the year as the Opening Day starter & Glavine pitched the second game of the year, getting knocked out by after four innings, taking a 9-5 loss to the Reds in Cincinnati. After starting out 0-2, he pitched a strong game on April 22nd against the Washington Nationals. Glavine went seven innings allowing just one run on two hits, striking out seven batters.

On April 27th the Braves came to town & beat Glavine once again, knocking him out in the 5th inning after he served up seven runs including HRs to Andru Jones & William Betemit. In May when the Mets went to Atlanta, the Braves beat Glavine again, although he did pitch into the 7th inning before giving up four runs. By the All Star break he was 6-7 & then beat the Nationals again to get to the .500 mark. He remained at .500 the rest of the year until mid September when he dropped to 10-13.

But he finished strong, starting out with a complete game win over the Braves at Shea Stadium, for a 4-1 six hit victory.

On September 24th he pitched eight innings in Washington, allowing just two runs to beat the Nats 5-2. Glavine closed out the year with another complete game, the second in two weeks & earned the Pitcher of the Month Award. This time he shut out the Colorado Rockies at Shea, with a spectacular two hitter, striking out a season high eleven batters.

Glavine finished out the year at 13-13 with a 3.53 ERA (both second to Pedro Martinez) striking out 105 batters & walking 61 in 211 innings of work in 33 starts. That season he was a spokesperson for Volunteers of Americas: Operation Backpack, helping homeless children as well as Katrina victims.

2006 started with lots of excitement as the team had acquired Carlos Delgado, Paul Loduca, Jose Valentin & Xavier Nady in the off season. It proved to be the best year for the Mets since 2000 as they won the N.L. Eastern crown, staying on top of the pack all year long.

With Pedro Martinez sidelined, Glavine got the Opening Day start. He out dueled the Nationals; Livan Hernandez for 3-2 victory. Glavine went six innings allowing just one run on six scattered hits. On April 14th he beat the Milwaukee Brewers & then suffered a tough loss on his next start.

On April 19th, he pitched eight innings against the Atlanta Braves, allowing just one earned run but lost to Tim Hudson who threw a complete game 2-1 win. On April 29th in Atlanta, Glavine threw another gem; he went out & shut out the Braves for seven innings, beating John Thomson 1-0. Paul Loduca's solo HR was the only run of the game.

From that point on the Mets & Glavine caught fire. Glavine won six straight games through May & nine straight decisions into July. On May 4th he shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates for seven innings, as he went into stretch of throwing 17 straight scoreless innings over three games.

On May 21st, he beat the A.L. New York team in the subway series, helped out by back to back HRs by David Wright & Carlos Delgado. On May 27th he went into the 8th inning in Florida, allowing three runs in the 7-4 victory.

A month later on June 23rd, he pitched a seven inning one run game in Toronto beating the Blue Jays 11-2 in inter-league play. In July he had three outings were he allowed five runs or more & was just 1-4 through the summer months of July & August.

He had a big scare that August when he felt coldness in his left ring finger & was tested for a possible dangerous blod clot. The results were negative & he was back to work for September.

On September 18th the Mets clinched their first NL East title in 18 years, the next night Glavine beat the Marlins with an eight inning two run performance. On September 30th he closed out the year with a win in Washington, giving him his 15th win of the year.

It was Glavine's best year as a Met, as he tied with Steve Trachsel for most wins on the club, went 15-7 (2nd most wins in the NL, tied with five other pitchers) with 131 strike outs (all his Mets bests) posting a 3.82 ERA in 198 innings over 32 starts. He became the first Mets left hander in thirty years to make thirty or more starts in four consecutive seasons.

Post Season: Glavine got the start in Game #2 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, at Shea Stadium (a game centerfieldmaz was in attendance at).

Glavine was in his usual post season form, throwing six innings of shut out ball, allowing just four hits, two walks & striking out two. He left with a 2-0 lead after Endy Chavez scored the first run, with a single, advancing on a wild pitch & Glavine force play, leading to a Jose Reyes ground out run.

Paul Loduca added a sac fly in the 5th as well. In the bottom of the 6th inning the Mets tacked on two more runs, with a Julio Franco ground out & a Jose Reyes single. Glavine got the win as the Mets went up two games to nothing, on their way to the sweep.

In the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals he got the start in the Game One Opener at Shea Stadium. Once again he stepped up & was spectacular; pitching seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits & two walks, striking out two. Carlos Beltran hit a two run HR providing the Mets with all they needed in the 2-0 win over Jeff Weaver.

With a depleted Mets pitching staff, missing Pedro Martinez & Orlando Hernandez, Glavine got the call for Game #5 in St. Louis, as well. Although the Mets scored first, the Cards struck. In the home 4th, Albert Pujols hit a HR off Glavine & Rafael Belliard singled home another run. Glavine allowed one more run before his exit in the 5th & was the losing pitcher. The Mets lost the game & the series in seven games, ending a heartbreaking series after a fine season.

Glavine felt good about the Mets chances in the next few years & signed a two year deal with them in hopes of winning another championship as well as winning his 300th game. He entered the 2007 season with 290 wins & the Mets were proud that he would accomplish this feat in a New York uniform.

In 2007 the Mets returned to carry out a mission to get to the World Series & avenge their NLCS lost from the previous year. It was a strong year but the team collapsed in the final month & lost a playoff berth on the last day of the season. Glavine got the Opening Day win in St. Louis, after the Mets saw the Cards raise their World Championship flag.

Christine Glavine
In his next start, his friend John Smoltz beat him in Atlanta. But Glavine was strong from their winning four straight decisions until the end of May. He then lost four straight decisions, including two inter league game walloping's by the Tigers in Detroit (nine runs in 4.1 innings) & the A.L. New York club (seven runs in 4 innings).

On June 22nd he pitched a strong one run eight inning performance against the Oakland A's at Shea Stadium. In his next start on June 27th, he shut out the Cardinals for six innings earning his seventh win of the year (7-5). On July 14th Glavine beat the Cincinnati Reds 2-1, as he out dueled Matt Beslisle. The Mets won the game as Lastings Milledge singled off Mike Stanton in the bottom of the 8th inning. Glavine rolled along with six straight wins into mid September.

300th Victory: The biggest win of his personal career came on August 5th at Wrigley Field in Chicago. On a nationally broadcast game, he pitched six & a third innings, allowing just two runs on six hits, exiting with a 5-1 lead.

He went on to get the win & become just the fifth left hander in history to win 300 games over the course of a fabulous career. He & his family were honored by the organization, as well as the media, at a post game press conference & festivities.

On September 30th he pitched his final game with the Mets. It was the Mets final game of the year & they needed the win to get to the playoffs after a disastrous week. The day before John Maine pitched the game of his life, flirting with a no hitter into the 8th inning giving the Mets life & a much needed win.

But in the last game, Glavine was shelled for seven runs in the first inning, as the Mets playoff hopes ended as did Glavines career in New York. Many felt he went out their lax & showed no emotion as well as no heart in the game. After a bad start to his Mets career to a promising playoff run, it now ended just as bad as it began.

In his five year Mets career; Glavine was 61-56 with a 3.41 ERA. He struck out 516 batters, walked 114 while pitching 1005 innings in 164 games.

He closed out his career in Atlanta going 2-4 in 13 games in 2008.

In his 22 year career Glavine won two Cy Young Awards, a TSN Pitcher of the Year Award & made ten All Star Games. He was 305-203 (21st in wins) with a 3.54 ERA. He has 2607 strike outs (24th all time) 1500 walks (12th most all time) in 4413 innings (30th all time) in 682 starts (12th all time). He has thrown 22 shut outs (173rd all time) & has 52 complete games.

Retirement: Since his playing days he has become a color analyst for Atlanta Braves games.

Honors: In 2010 the Braves retired his uniform #47 at Turner Field. In 2014 he was elected to Cooperstown into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Family: He & his second wife Christine have five children, they reside in Johns Creek, Georgia. tom coaches his sons baseball & hockey teams.

Glavine is a Catholic & has done a piece for Catholic Athletes for Christ. He has always been very active in charity work, from the Rally Foundation, to CURE to the Georgia Transplant Foundation.

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