2011 NEWS

2011 NEWS > 1/19/11

GLAVINE TALKS RETIREMENT, HALL OF FAME

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Former Brave Tom Glavine, a 305-game winner, is three years from being eligible for the Hall of Fame. He is entering his second season as a part-time Braves broadcaster and special assistant to Braves president John Schuerholz and otherwise spending retirement coaching two of his sons in hockey.

As he prepared to host his annual event for the Georgia Transplant Foundation Jan. 28 at the Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery, Glavine spoke with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Cooperstown, the Phillies rotation, his adjustment to broadcasting and more. Here are excerpts:

Q: With your contemporary Roberto Alomar going into the Hall of Fame, have you started thinking about what that might be like for you?
A: No. Iím not one of those guys who likes to think about something thatís not a 100 percent lock. I know people are, ďOh, youíre going.Ē I donít know. I like to think that I am, but until I get the phone call that I am, itís not something that Iím spending a ton of time on.

Q: What would it be like for you, Bobby Cox and Greg Maddux to go in one class?
A: That would be cool. To be able to go in No. 1 is a big deal but if you go in at the same time as other guys that you spent a large part of your career with and were very influential on your career, thatíd be even cooler.

Q: What do you think of voters steering away from players with any suspicion of steroid use?
A: Not surprised. To a certain extent theyíre sending a message and weíre still all trying to figure out what that message is and how itís going to play out. I donít know if youíll ever change those peopleís minds. Iím just glad Iím not one of those guys (under suspicion).

Q: Do you think some of those suspected should be in regardless?
A: I donít know. Itís hard for me to say I think they should be in regardless. Itís hard to separate what they were capable of doing and what they did. I know a lot of people hate Barry (Bonds), but Barry was a Hall of Fame player before he started hitting home runs. Itís unfortunate for him that a lot of people are going to forget that. But I think he is a little bit different than everybody else.

Q: When you faced Jeff Bagwell, did you think of him as a Hall of Famer?
A:
Jeff was always a good player. He certainly was a guy you didnít want to let beat you. But the Hall of Fame criteria is more than that. Itís how you stack up based on the history of the game, which is always tough to judge. I donít know what his numbers are compared to Freddie McGriffís, but I think those are two guys as time goes on will garner more and more attention, especially Freddie. I think people would be surprised if they saw the numbers Freddie McGriff had and where he stacked up in the history of the game.

Q: He was only seven homers shy of 500. But maybe his quiet, laid-back demeanor didnít help him?
A:
Yeah and he didnít exactly play in the biggest markets. His time in Atlanta was probably when he got the most exposure. ... You start throwing out numbers. You think theyíre attached to some of the other great players in the game and theyíre attached to Freddie. Thatís the kind of thing that over time is only going to help his cause and probably the same is true for Jeff. The fact those guys did it in an era when they were clean is going to help them too.

Q: You think Bagwell was clean?
A:
I do, yeah. I have no reason not to. You view a guy in that regard, when you start looking at how his numbers changed, how his body changed. Jeff seemed to me to always be the same batting stance and always the same body type all the way through his career.

Q: So how about Cliff Lee rejoining the Phillies? How will that rotation compare with some of the Braves' great ones?
A:
Theyíre going to be no different than where we were in the day, where when a team comes in to play them in a three-game series, theyíre not going to look forward to the three guys theyíre facing, no matter who they are. Itís going to be hard for them to match some of the numbers we put up as a group because itís a different era now. One of the stats I saw, one year we as a foursome had 900 innings pitched (973 1/3 in 1993). Itís going to be awful difficult for them to match things like that, the way the game is now and in their ballpark.

Q: You give the Braves rotations an advantage over some of the great ones for longevity?
A:
Yeah, as much as anything. What we were able to do as rotations, but even more specifically the three of us, me, John (Smoltz) and Greg, itís going to be tough for teams to do that economically anymore. Itís tough to keep guys like that together for 10 years like we did.

Q: You were all making $7, $8, $9 million as opposed to $18, $19, $20 million?
A:
They've all got a one in front of their numbers now. We didnít. We were still making good money at the time, but keeping guys together that are making $6, $7, $8 million a year is probably easier than keeping guys together who are making $14, $15, $16 million a year. Thatís just a fact of life. As a baseball fan, Iím intrigued to see what theyíre going to do and the kind of numbers theyíre going to put up.

Q: What do you think about the Braves chances' this season?
A:
I like where they are. They addressed their biggest need getting Dan Uggla. The dynamic of the team has changed a little bit. Offensively theyíre a much more solid team than they were last year. The strength of their team last year was probably the bullpen and thatís not going to be the case, going into spring training anyway. When you lose (Billy) Wagner, you lose (Takashi) Saito, youíve lost a lot of experience on the back end of that bullpen that was a huge advantage for them last year. Iím not saying it wonít be this year, but thereís a little bit of uncertainty. They definitely have talent, but inexperience is always a key factor that you just donít know how itís going to play out.

Q: What did your job with the Braves entail last year, other than broadcasting?
A:
Mostly minor league stuff, seeing some of the prospects, getting to know who they were. I was in on a meeting earlier in the year when they assess their minor league pool. It was an interesting meeting but it was difficult because I didnít know any of them. ... Once youíre actually able to go out and watch them, you put two and two together. Hopefully this year Iíll have an opportunity to do the same thing and a little bit more of it.

Q: Where all did you go?
A:
I went to Rome. I went to Gwinnett a few times. I went up to Chattanooga and saw the Double-A team and got to see Mike Minor for the first time up there. Iíll probably do more of that this year and maybe go back and see specific kids a handful more times.

Q: Will your broadcasting load be similar?
A:
I think so, at least in terms of TV. Weíre talking about the radio side. I ended up doing 13-14 TV games and I did three or four games on radio. I think everybody is comfortable with how I did and the improvements I could make, so if there are opportunities for me to do more, weíre going to try to make that happen.

Q: Did you enjoy that side of it?
A:
I did. Itís a lot of fun. Broadcasting is an easy way to stay around the game. Itís not an easy job per se. I found it to be a little more difficult than I thought it would be in terms of being relevant. Youíre always mindful of what youíre saying having an impact, without just being a talking head. I felt like I got better as the year went on. Itís not easy when you have three guys in the booth. Joe (Simpson) and Chip (Caray) were great to work with and they were very helpful. I did worry about stepping on their toes. They have a rapport between the two of them and theyíre used to working together. And Iím showing up once every two weeks. They were always very encouraging, to jump in and say what you want to say. Thatís a learning process. I was probably more reserved than I should have been and thatís an adjustment I would make going into next year.

Q: Maybe theyíll give you more chances for a two-man booth?
A:
I did a couple in that series in New York later in the year when it was just me and Chip. Itís a lot easier to get into the flow when there are only two guys. That was a lot of fun. But Iím not interested in doing 100 games. Iím not interested in taking time away from Joe or Chip. I like doing what Iím doing and if the opportunity comes up where those guys need a vacation, Iím happy to fill in.

Q: What do you miss about pitching?
A:
Pitching. Thatís it. The only thing I miss is going out there every fifth day and competing. I donít miss the traveling. I donít miss goofing around in the clubhouse. I enjoy being home.

Q: Howís the shoulder? You back to being a regular person after surgery last August?
A:
Iím close. Iím not playing golf yet, not that I could yet anyway. So the snow storm came at a good time for me.

Q: You still doing rehab?
A:
I am. The physical side is right around the corner, but the immediate effects have been huge for me. It doesnít hurt anymore. It doesnít hurt when Iím just sitting around watching TV. It doesnít wake me up at night. It doesnít hurt when Iím driving my car. All those stupid little things that you take for granted I learned to deal with. Itís nice not having that pain. Itís nice not going to reach for a gallon of milk in the refrigerator and not only having the pain but not being sure Iím going to be able to hold up the gallon of milk.

Q: As many innings as you threw, were you worried about pain in your later years?
A:
Thatís why I did it. I knew I was going to have to get it done and I kept putting it off. I think the kicker for me was over the summer, being down at the beach with the kids and trying to throw a football. I couldnít throw it 20 yards. And when I did, it hurt and Iíd wake up the next day and it would hurt like hell. I was like 'This is stupid.'

Q: So youíre still coaching hockey?
A:
Yes. Iím at the rink four nights a week. I coach (11-year-old) Peytonís team. I help (10-year-old) Masonís team. It gives me something to do and itís fun watching them play and appreciate the game the way I did as a kid. Itís fun getting back into it.