2007 NEWS

2007 News > 8/1/07

KASTEN HAS GREAT RESPECT FOR GLAVINE

By Bill Ladsen, MLB.com
Original Article Here.
WASHINGTON -- It's obvious the respect Nationals president Stan Kasten has for Mets left-hander Tom Glavine goes beyond the baseball field.

Kasten loves to talk about how Glavine is always generous to baseball fans and works hard when it comes to union matters. The relationship between Kasten and Glavine has been described as "direct," according to Kasten. And neither ever took it personally when they disagreed with the other.

"You know my personality," Kasten said. "I used to go after him pretty hard, but he took it well because he has a great sense of humor."

Glavine also is the man who gave Kasten his only World Series championship ring in 1995, when Kasten was team president and Glavine pitched for the Braves.

Kasten showed his appreciation for Glavine by going to Milwaukee to watch Glavine's first attempt at his 300th career victory, which ended in a no-decision. Had Glavine won, it would have marked the second time Kasten watched a pitcher win his 300th game. On Aug. 7, 2004, Kasten went to San Francisco to see another former Braves employee -- Greg Maddux -- reach that milestone while with the Cubs.

Kasten has worked for three major sports franchises in the last 30 years in Atlanta and said that he has never seen a competitor like Glavine.

"He is just a guy who is going to do whatever it takes to try to win, will battle you out there on nights that he doesn't have his best stuff or location," Kasten said recently. "Look at the condition that he is in at his advanced age, which I keep reminding him."

Kasten joined the Braves as president in 1987. Entering that season, Glavine was one of the team's top prospects. There were many trade rumors involving the left-hander that year. One that upset Kasten the most occurred during the offseason. The rumor was that Glavine and outfielder David Justice were going to the Red Sox for outfielder Mike Greenwell. The Braves had no intentions of trading Glavine, or Justice, for that matter.

"We wouldn't have given either one for Mike Greenwell," Kasten said. "We thought one was a future big winner in the Major Leagues and one was a future potential batting champion."

It's a good thing Kasten and the Braves didn't trade Glavine. Greenwell had a good career, but it doesn't quite stack up to that of Glavine's. Kasten saw the left-hander win 242 games in a Braves uniform, win two Cy Young Awards and guide the Braves to 11 straight division titles, five pennants and one World Series championship.

Glavine had a big hand in that championship in 1995 over the Indians. He went 2-0, gave up two runs in 14 innings -- including pitching eight innings of one-hit ball in Game 6 -- and was named the World Series Most Valuable Player.

"It was as good as a pitcher can be, and you would expect that out of Tommy. He does it when you need it the most," Kasten said.

Hall of Famer Don Sutton, now a broadcaster for the Nationals, first met Glavine in 1989. It was Glavine's second full season in the big leagues and Sutton's first as a Braves broadcaster. After a couple of meetings, Sutton knew that Glavine would be special.

"I told him, 'I love your makeup, I love your discipline. I love your commitment. I think you have a chance to win 200 games.' Now I have to apologize for shortchanging him," Sutton said. "He is one of the most special people that I have gotten to know since coming into the game as a broadcaster."

Now Glavine will soon join Sutton as one of 23 pitchers to win 300 career games. Sutton pointed out that Glavine's blue-collar personality is the reason he has had so much success.

"The first day of Spring Training, you could call him in and say, 'Tom, here is what I expect: You give me 33 starts and give me your best effort.' You didn't worry about him again until late October," Sutton said. "You never had to have a conversation with him. Tom Glavine would have played the same way without a manager or coaches. In the time that I knew him, I never knew him to shortchange the team or his teammates."

Glavine has the stats to back it up.