Tom Glavine was never linked to performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). As a member of the Atlanta Braves, he was part of 11 of the Braves MLB record 14 consecutive division titles. And not counting PED users, he was one of only three pitchers of his era to win 300 games.
Those two stats alone, and the fact that Glavine never used PED's during the roid-filled decade of the 90's should indicate certain induction into the Hall Of Fame for Glavine on his first try. However, speculation still remains as to whether or not Glavine deserves first-ballot enshrinement into baseball's hallowed halls.
Baseball greatness has always been measured with statistics. And while the game's intangibles, such as leadership and character, certainly play a role in overall success, HOF worthiness is all about the stats.
If you are a numbers person, the vote should be an easy one. Glavine notched five 20-win seasons over his career, ranking him second, during his era, behind only accused PED user Roger Clemens, who achieved the feat six times. He led the league in wins five times, won two Cy Young awards, in 1991 and 1998, and was voted into the All-Star game 10 times.
Glavine was also one of the best hitting pitchers of all-time, finishing his career with a .186 batting average. His four Silver Slugger awards places him second all-time for pitchers behind former teammate Mike Hampton.
In addition to his awards and accolades, Glavine was consistent. He averaged 220 innings pitched over his 22-year career, never spending time on the disabled list until 2008, his final season.
Glavine's playoff statistics were equally as stellar as his regular season accomplishments. He ranks second all-time in starts and innings pitched, third in wins, and fifth in strikeouts. Glavine was named 1995 World Series MVP, the year the Braves won the crown.
Most critics agree that Glavine's teammate for many years, Greg Maddux, is virtually guaranteed first-ballot entrance into the Hall. And while most agree that Glavine deserves to be elected, many feel that he should wait until year two or later.
Critics point to Glavine's career earned run average of 3.54 as a knock on his chances to enter the Hall on his first try. Glavine was a crafty left-hander who pitched to contact, thus allowing more balls to come into play, jeopardizing his ERA.
Experts have also questioned Glavine's strikeout numbers. With 2,607 career strikeouts, Glavine places 24th on the all-time strikeout list. However, as mentioned in the above paragraph, Glavine was not a strikeout pitcher, relying on control, location, and an effective ability to change speeds.
The bottom line with Glavine is that he was a winner. He was a winner in an era in which many of his fellow athletes chose to boost their ability by using PED's and other ethically bankrupt supplements.
He chose not to. And he rightfully deserves a plaque next July alongside friend and teammate Maddux, together celebrating the honor of a first-ballot selection into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Photo credit: photos/tbridge/2328528028/
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