Feb 11, 2010, 3:25 PM EDT
After a year or so of denial, anger and bargaining, Tom
Glavine has finally reached acceptance, officially ending the
playing portion of his baseball career. He’s taking a job in the Braves’ front office as the assistant to team president John Schuerholz. He’ll also do
a bit of broadcasting work, both on Braves radio and on FOX Sports
South, and will do appearances, special projects and that sort of thing
for Frank Wren and Bobby Cox.
I’ve long known that he would never pitch again, but this announcement
still makes me a little sad. Mostly because I’ve always felt like Tom
Glavine and I grew up together. I was 14 years-old when I watched his
Major League debut. I was on vacation with my family in Myrtle Beach.
It was raining so we were hanging out in the hotel. I clicked on the TV
and the Braves were playing the Astros. Skip kept going on about how
young he was. He mentioned that Glavine had some promise, but made a
far bigger deal about him having been a hockey prospect. Glavine got
shelled that day, giving up six runs on ten hits in less than four
innings. To my untrained eye there was nothing special about him. I
remember thinking that maybe he made a bad decision giving up on the
hockey. I certainly had no idea that he’d save the franchise like he
Of course Glavine matured, winning more games, becoming more confident
on the mound, winning Cy Youngs and leading the Braves to the World
Series multiple times. I was always a bigger Maddux fan than Glavine
fan, but I’ve never been more thrilled by a Braves’ pitching
performance than I was Glavine’s in Game 6 of the
1995 World Series. In some ways Maddux was that guy you always knew
would do well. I know intellectually that Tom Glavine was supremely
talented as well, but having watched his debut, I always saw a bit of
that kid from 1987 in him. I always felt happier for him when he did
well, as if he were some underdog or something, even though he
obviously wasn’t. I rooted for him in ways that I never rooted for Maddux. I always felt he needed my chores a little more.
I’m guessing every fan of a certain age can identify with this. Can
name the first guy whose whole career they watched really, really
closely. The first guy with whom they took the entire ride. For me
that guy is Tom Glavine and the ride is now officially over.
Guess it’s time to get back in line and ride again.