Near the top of my list of all-time favorite baseball players you'll Mr. Tom Glavine. I stayed up last night and watched the box score update on the internet as he won his 300th game in the majors. I always new that Glavine would make the Hall of Fame, but the 300 magic number now leaves no doubt. He has done something that only 22 other men have ever done.
Once, my dad was in the lobby of a hotel in Arizona. The Braves were in town, and Glavine came walking by. My dad said hello to him, explained that we were lifelong fans, how we had had season tickets in the late 80's, and how much we appreciated his talent. Glavine asked my dad if he had a cell phone. He told my dad to call me. Sadly, I wasn't at home, but he did leave me a voicemail hello. He's a classy guy.
Some of my best memories of him are the photograph of him Smoltz, Avery, and Zane Smith on a cover of a program that said "Young Guns." I remember either Chuck Tanner or Russ Nixon putting him in as a pinch runner late in a game. I remember the famous story of him having to throw brushback pitches agains the first Phillies batter after they had hit one of the Braves. That batter was the recently traded Dale Murphy, and Glavine just couldn't bring himself to actually hit such a nice guy (and former teammate as Murph).
And then I remember that magical moment in 1995, when the Braves won the World Series on Glavine pitching eight innings of one-hit ball, culminating all of the heartbreak and ache of my youth into a glorious orgasm of elation and joy. I had done nothing to win the games myself, but I felt this tribal connection to that team. I convinced Paul Dunn to ride down to the airport with me to welcome them back. I got permission from Dr. Johnson at Georgia Tech to skip class and go to the parade. I remember seeing Glavine up on top of a firetruck, eyes beaming---though I have to admit that I mostly remember him because he was sitting next to his SMOKING-HOT now ex-wife. Wow, just wow.
Glavine won Cy Youngs. He's pitched another season of baseball in the post season. Along with Maddux, Smoltz, and maybe Chipper, he will be one of the Braves Hall of Fame inductees from their dynasty, and I hope that the Braves will retire his number 47 some day, along with Smoltz, Maddux, Chipper, and maybe Andruw.
Congratulations Tom! When you retire, please come home to the organization that cherishes you above all else. And to the Atlanta fans that boo whenever the Mets come to town and Glavine pitches. Shame on you! This man won the World Series for us.