2010 NEWS

2010 NEWS > 1/16/10


By David O'Brien, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Original Article HERE.

Once Tom Glavine announces he has retired from pitching -- that could be soon, and he has talked with the Braves about a possible front-office position -- he and pal Greg Maddux could be on a four-year countdown to a fitting coda to their careers: first-ballot election to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The questions could then become: Will both be depicted wearing Braves caps on their Cooperstown plaques? Might Maddux instead wear a cap of the Chicago Cubs, who last week hired "Mad Dog" as a special assistant to their general manager?

Maddux, who had 355 wins -- eighth on the all-time list -- before retiring after the 2008 season, began his major league career with the Cubs and rejoined them in 2004 after the Braves let him go as a free agent.

He was inducted into the Braves' and Cubs' Halls of Fame last season and expresses great fondness for both organizations.

Some Braves fans worry that his return to the Cubs in 2004, coupled with his new job with them, means Maddux will choose Cubs over Braves at Cooperstown.

A couple of points that might alleviate those concerns:

*The Hall of Fame no longer leaves it to players to decide which team they will represent. For players who have played for multiple teams, the Hall picks the cap it deems appropriate, though it does consult with the player.

“At the end of the day you want the logo to represent where this guy made his greatest impact,” Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said in a recent news conference after Andre Dawson was elected to the Hall of Fame.

*Maddux's case, statistically speaking, seems clear. He accomplished far more with the Braves. (Of course, the Hall and Maddux might view "impact" to mean more than just statistics.)

After winning the first of his four Cy Young Awards with a 20-win season with the Cubs in 1992, Maddux went to the Braves as a free agent and produced one of the dominant stretches of pitching in the modern era.

He pitched more seasons with the Braves (11) than the Cubs (10), and won 194 games for the Braves, compared to 133 with the Cubs. Three of his four Cy Young Awards came with the Braves, and his only World Series title.

With Glavine, there's no question which cap he will wear. He had a five-year late-career stint with the New York Mets, but the left-hander recorded 244 of his 305 wins with the Braves.

He won both his Cy Young Awards with the Braves, and was 2-0 with a 1.29 in the 1995 World Series win against Cleveland, including a for-the-ages performance -- one hit, eight scoreless innings -- in the Game 6 clincher.

But when does he get elected? He's not retired, though it's expected he will announce that soon. Since he didn't pitch in the majors in 2009, he would be eligible for election the same year as Maddux.

While he's not the mortal lock that Maddux is for first-ballot selection, Glavine's 305 wins portends likely first-ballot election.

Glavine was unceremoniously released by the Braves in June at the end of a injury-rehab stint in the minors and concedes he hasn't completely gotten over the sting of how that move was handled.

But he has talked with the Braves about a possible position that might included a variety of duties, from front-office work to instructing young players and possibly even some broadcasting work.