Glavine forged storied career from Atlanta beginnings

Hall of Fame electee, who broke into big leagues with Braves, a true homegrown hero

Glavine forged storied career from Atlanta beginnings

ATLANTA -- An abundance of Braves fans will flock to Cooperstown, N.Y., this weekend to celebrate the Hall of Fame inductions of three legendary figures -- Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Bobby Cox -- who provided the city of Atlanta more than a decade of October memories.

Still while Cox and Maddux played instrumental roles during the franchise's greatest era, they did not necessarily share the same exact view as Glavine, who was born a Brave during some lean years and then bred to be the champion that he became while serving as both seed and base of the legendary starting rotations that Atlanta featured during the 1990s.

Cox initially introduced himself to the Braves organization as a 36-year-old manager. Maddux's transition from Chicago to Atlanta came after he had already won a National League Cy Young Award. But Glavine arrived in the big leagues with the Braves as a wide-eyed 21-year-old who had been the club's second-round Draft choice just three years earlier.

Thus, when the induction ceremonies take place on Sunday afternoon (coverage begins at noon ET with MLB Tonight live from Cooperstown on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com and the At Bat app, with the induction ceremony beginning at 1:30 p.m.), there will be many Braves fans looking at Glavine and treasuring the memories they gathered while watching him grow from a boy to one of the greatest left-handed pitchers in Major League history.

Glavine's Top 10 Moments
Ten top moments from the career of Tom Glavine, who will enter the Hall of Fame on Sunday. The induction ceremony will air Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET, live on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com and the At Bat app
Aug. 22 , 1987: Braves 10, Pirates 3 - First Major League win
This proved to be a memorable outing for Glavine, who opened the game by hitting a batter -- Barry Bonds -- for the first time. In the sixth inning, he served up his first home run to Mike Diaz. But after allowing three earned runs over 7 1/3 innings, Glavine had the first of his 305 career victories.
April 12, 1989: Braves 5, Padres 0 - First shutout
After going 7-17 with a 4.56 ERA in his first full season, Glavine began 1989 with consecutive gems. He went the distance against the Dodgers in his season debut and then five days later, tossed his first career shutout. Randy Ready notched two of the six hits recorded by the Padres, but he grounded out with two on base to end the game.
Oct. 2, 1991: Braves 6, Reds 3 - 20th win caps first Cy Young Award season
Glavine completed his first Cy Young season by limiting the Reds to three runs (one earned) over eight innings. His effort allowed the Braves to gain a tie in an NL West race that they would win against the Dodgers four days later.
Oct. 17, 1992: Braves 3, Blue Jays 1 - Complete-game World Series victory
Glavine completed the first of his many postseason gems as he limited the Blue Jays to three hits and went the distance in Game 1 of the World Series. After allowing Joe Carter to begin the fourth inning with a home run, Glavine faced the minimum the rest of the way.
Oct. 28, 1995: Braves 1, Indians 0 - World Series-clincher
With the most memorable performance of his storied career, Glavine provided the city of Atlanta with what remains its only World Series title. The stoic southpaw limited Cleveland's powerful lineup to just one hit over eight innings.
Oct. 17, 1996: Braves 15, Cardinals 0 - Three-run triple helps Braves clinch NLCS
Glavine showed off his athleticism in the process of limiting the Cardinals to three hits over seven scoreless innings in Game 7 of the NLCS. The four-time Silver Slugger Award winner provided himself some comfort with a three-run triple he hit to cap a six-run first inning.
Sept. 19, 1998: Braves 5, D-backs 0 - Shutout secures fourth 20-win season
Glavine scattered six hits and went the distance in Arizona. The dominant outing was fresh in the minds of voters who awarded him his second Cy Young Award a few weeks later.
July 31, 2000: Braves 6, Astros 3 - Win No. 200
Though he came up short in his bid to go the distance, Glavine's eight strong innings proved to be enough for him to join Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux as the only active pitchers at the time with 200 victories.
May 23, 2004: Mets 4, Rockies 0 - Completed his only one-hitter
Four years after recording his fifth 20-win season, Glavine fired the only one-hitter of his career. Rockies first baseman Kit Pellow's two-out double in the eighth inning was the only thing that separated him from would have been his only no-hitter.
Aug. 5, 2007: Mets 8, Cubs 3 - Becomes fourth left-hander to record 300 wins
With a Sunday Night Baseball audience watching, Glavine completed his journey toward 300 by limiting the Cubs to two runs over 6 2/3 innings. The celebration that took place that night at Wrigley Field came two weeks shy of the 20th anniversary of his Major League debut.

"When you are young, you think that the Hall of Famers are so great," former Braves second baseman Mark Lemke said. "You used to look at those baseball cards and they looked like cartoon or high-school numbers. You didn't think anybody was going to get those numbers. You don't realize you're playing with greatness as you go along."

Lemke can take pleasure in the fact that he had a chance to develop a bond with future greatness at an early age. After Glavine signed his first professional contract in 1984, he reported to the Braves' Rookie team in Bradenton, Fla., and found himself sharing a room with Lemke.

"As you started to talk to him, you could tell he wasn't the average 18-year-old kid," Lemke said. "You weren't thinking Hall of Fame or 300 wins or anything like that. But you knew he was going to be successful at whatever he wanted to do in life."

In January, Glavine learned he would be sharing the induction stage with Maddux and former slugger Frank Thomas. The other members of this year's class are Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa, who were elected in December by the Expansion Era Committee.

"Bobby is the single greatest influence in my baseball career," Glavine said of his longtime manager. "Greg had a huge impact on me as a player, both on what he provided our team and in doing so, he made me want to work harder and keep up."

A four-time Cy Young Award winner, Maddux credits the fortitude he showed during his 355-win career to the opportunity to associate himself with Glavine from 1993-2002 in Atlanta's rotation.

"Glav taught me that you don't have to be 100 percent to pitch," Maddux said. "I think it's awesome to go into the Hall of Fame with Tom Glavine. It's just an added bonus."

Over the past six months, Glavine has had time to reminisce about the great journey that carried him toward two Cy Young Awards, 305 career victories and ultimately Cooperstown.

Fortified by the work ethic instilled by his blue-collar father and enriched by the stubborn demeanor of his mother, Glavine spent 22 Major League seasons proving the values of discipline, determination and the unwillingness to never waver in the midst of adversity.

When Glavine lost 17 games during his first full season in 1988, he made the necessary adjustments that led to 14 victories the next year. The struggles he endured while going 10-12 with a 4.28 ERA in 1990 led to trade speculation that was quickly squelched by a phone call from Cox, who at the time served as Atlanta's general manager.

Strengthened by the confidence Cox had expressed in him, Glavine returned the next season to win the first of his two Cy Youngs and help the Braves capture the first of their record 14 consecutive division titles.

"There was always that willingness to look at myself and know there were things I could do better and I needed to do better," Glavine said. "In my mind, I was never shy about taking those things on to try to get better."

Glavine's desire to succeed also led him to five 20-win seasons and the fourth-most wins (305) by any left-handed pitcher in Major League history. He joined the 300-win club on Aug. 5, 2007, while in the midst of a five-year stint with the Mets, the only other organization he played for before pitching his final career game with the Braves one year later.

John Smoltz will be on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year, and he, Glavine and Maddux enjoyed a friendly rivalry that was void of any hint of jealousy. If one of them tossed seven scoreless innings one day, the next attempted to complete eight scoreless the next day.

"I've always said that winners make commitments and losers make excuses," Braves president John Schuerholz said when Glavine was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in 2009. "Tom Glavine -- with his preparation, his determination, his winning spirit, his intellect, his desire to win and to succeed -- never has made an excuse in his life. But he always made commitments to winning."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.