Earilier in the fall I wrote about the retirement of Randy Johnson, and then a few weeks ago, that of Frank Thomas. Well, on the same day that Thomas retired, Braves (and sometime Met hurler) Tom Glavine also called it a career after 22 seasons and 305 wins.
Meaning this year three players retired, all of whom should be first ballot Hall of Fame inductees in 2015, when they will likely be inducted. And, the last time three like players both retired, and joined the Hall together was the fabulous troika of George Brett, Robin Yount, and Nolan Ryan (in fact I attended that particular induction ceremony).
But, this year it hardly seemed fair to acknowledge Johnson and Thomas without mentioning Glavine.
Maybe because Glavine was so low-key, pitching in the rotation with first Greg Maddux, then John Smoltz, both of whom garnered more ink than the subtle lefty. And, both of whom, along with the other names on this list always seemed so much more dominant.
But, make no mistake, Glavine, did win 305 games, making him one of a select crowd alone. And, he won 20 games five times, and won two Cy Young awards (in 1991 and 1998). So, he was more than good, but, as a soft thrower who could actually pitch, Glavine was not a strikeout machine like say Ryan or Johnson, nor could he command the strike zone like Maddux.
He was kind of a throwback, mixing speeds and control, taking advantage of the batter's weakness or anxiety, and parlaying that into a career that probably never defined him as the best pitcher in baseball, but proved him to be so consistant for such a prolonged period, that he clearly deserves recognition.
Much like Don Sutton, who did get into the Hall a few years back, but carried that same knock, that he was never the best pitcher in baseball at any time he pitched. In there is an argument for that, but, the durability and dependability--for in those 22 years, and in particular the years between 1988 and 2007, Glavine started fewer than 30 games only three times, with 29 in 1989, 25 in 1994, and again 29 in 1995, amassing 4413 innings and 2605 whiffs over that span.
So, while there is something riveting about the dominance of Ryan, or the bat of Thomas, well, the quiet workmanlike way in which Glavine got it done is just as worthy of high recognition.
And, well, if things do see to happen in threes, and Glavine joins the groups above, there is also the chance that both his Braves brethern, Maddux and Smoltz make the Hall too.
Because good things do seem to happen in threes.