2005 NEWS

2005 News > 6/16/05

GLAVINE GRATEFUL FOR LESSONS FROM DAD

By Marty Noble, MLB.com
Original Article HERE.

NEW YORK -- His son's games often were played in mid-afternoon. On those days, Fred Glavine left early for work to make sure the day's job was complete before the first pitch or before the puck was dropped. His son's hockey teams sometimes practiced before sunrise. On those days, Fred Glavine was a chauffeur before he was a contractor. But all day long, he was a father. He often worked deeper into the afternoon on those days.

One of the benefits of self-employment is the flexibility it allows. Fred Glavine frequently took advantage of that freedom. He would adjust his work schedule to make himself available. He'd work earlier or later; sometimes both. He'd work harder and longer, oftentimes both.

He'd do what had to be done to assure his availability. Working less was not an option, though.

He made a living with his hands and his back. He made a life with his heart and his strength. He made a family happy.

Fred Glavine worked in construction. He laid foundations mostly. Others built on what he gave them. He laid the foundation for Tom Glavine, too. He made a son -- three sons and one daughter, actually -- notice the benefits of hard work and his post-World War II, New England values.

"We learned respect for people, just by the way my dad treated them," the Mets pitcher said when a recent clubhouse conversation turned to fathers and fatherhood.

And Father's Day; it's one of the 365 days a year Tom Glavine appreciates all Fred Glavine did for him.

"The way the people he did work for treated him was a lesson, too," Tom Glavine said.

Fred Glavine, now 71, introduced his son to the values of respect and trust without explaining either. "Very internal," the son says. "He didn't say a lot." His children learned to listen with their eyes.

"When he did have something to say, we knew it was important. We listened."

Hockey was important to Tom Glavine. New England loves the game, and the house Fred Glavine built -- and still calls home -- was in Massachusetts. Tom became a Brave, of course. The thought of being a Bruin came to him more than once.

Fred didn't know that much hockey. He was a baseball guy. He knew the Braves when they played in Boston. Before his son threw a pitch in Atlanta, Fred told him of a Braves pitcher, also left-handed. "Every tip my dad ever gave me came from Warren Spahn," Tom Glavine says.

Imagine that. Fred's favorite was the greatest left-handed pitcher in Braves history, his son ranks second. "I think he's proud of that connection," Tom says. Tom's happy he could create the link.

But it was outside a rink that the senior Glavine imparted important sports wisdom he hadn't gleamed from the great Spahnie.

"We lost a hockey game," Tom says. "I came out in a [lousy] mood. He wouldn't accept that. He told me, 'You're not playing anymore if you're going to come out like that.' He taught he how to handle defeat and disappointment, to appreciate the chance I had to play. It's helped me throughout my career."

Lessons came in all forms. One was delivered with a whack. The Glavines were vacationing in Maine. They were swimming at York Beach when Tom and friend innocently left for a walk. They returned later to the sound of sirens.

"There was a kid in trouble in the water," Tom says. "It was bad. My parents couldn't find me. They thought the worst. We came back, and I said, 'What's the big deal? We just went for a walk.' Now that I'm a parent, I know what the big deal was. My dad let me know how happy he was to see me. He was really delighted. It was a love whack ... I did understand. I never had any doubt he loved me."

And there was the time Mildred Glavine found her pitcher-to-be son tossing snowballs at passing cars from a hidden position. Mildred didn't hide it from Fred. "When your father gets home..."

Tom Glavine remembers the fear that gripped him before his father arrived home. "We had this cuckoo clock," he recalls, "He took it off the wall and picked me up by my shirt. I was about 11. He was very strong. He threatened to put me on the wall.

"I didn't throw snowballs after that."

Tom reminds Fred of that episode now and then. Fred doesn't like to admit it. "But it's part of my childhood," Fred's son says. "It was a good childhood. He was a good father. He still is. I love my dad. And I respect him."