According to Mark Bowman at mlb.com, Tom Glavine has retired from baseball after 22 years in the major leagues. He will reportedly return to the Braves as a special assistant to team president John Schuerholz and will participate in Braves’ radio and television broadcasts.
To baseball fans, Glavine was one of the best pitchers of his generation. He won 305 games over his career, including five 20-win seasons. He finished in the top three in Cy Young Award balloting six times, winning the award twice (1991, 1998).
Mets fans might remember him for something different. Some will remember Glavine for picking up his 300th career victory in 2007 as a member of the Mets. Others will remember his outstanding 2006 campaign; a year in which he finished with a 15-7 record in the regular season and followed that up with two more victories in the postseason, which included a sparkling 1.59 ERA.
Some of us (myself included) will only remember Glavine for his final appearance in a Mets uniform. On September 30, 2007, just one day after John Maine pitched his near no-hitter against the Marlins to help the Mets tie the Phillies in the standings going into the regular season finale, Glavine was only able to record one out against Florida. Sandwiched around that out were seven runs by the Marlins. Coupled with the Phillies’ victory over the Washington Nationals, the Mets failed to repeat as division champions in 2007.
If his poor performance against the Marlins wasn’t enough to enrage Mets fans, his post-game comments surely managed to do the trick. After the season-ending loss, Glavine offered this tidbit to reporters.
“I’m not devastated. I’m disappointed, but devastation is for much greater things in life. I’m disappointed, obviously, in the way I wanted to pitch. I can’t say there is much more I would have done differently.”
As a baseball fan, I appreciate what Tom Glavine did on the baseball field. He will be a first ballot Hall of Famer (and since he threw his last pitch in the majors in 2008, he is eligible to be enshrined with former Braves teammate Greg Maddux in 2014). He was a quality postseason pitcher. He was not a cancer in the clubhouse. He also taught us (with the help of the aforementioned Maddux) that “chicks dig the longball”.
However, as a Mets fan, every time I think of the final 17 games of the 2007 season, instead of the frequent losses to the Nationals and Marlins, I think of Tom Glavine. Mets fans suffered a great deal as they watched their team lose the division title to the Phillies. We could not fathom that the Mets were part of an historic collapse. So when Tom Glavine did not echo the sentiments of Mets fans by saying he wasn’t devastated by his performance and the outcome of the game, it came as no surprise that Mets fans had had enough of Glavine.
Congratulations on your retirement, Mr. Glavine. I’m happy that you had a successful and lengthy career in the major leagues. Based on your career achievements, you deserve to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. I’m just not devastated to see you go.