1993 NEWS

1993 News > A Thought On Glavine


By Mark Bradley, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

It is November. Halloween has come and gone. We've had snow flurries in Atlanta. The local football teams, the Falcons and Georgia and Tech, are a collective 9-16. The Hawks open up on Friday. The World Series ended 11 days ago. The Braves haven't played for three weeks. Pitchers and catchers won't report for 3 1/2 months. Yet here I am, wondering about Tom Glavine's fingers.

I told Glavine this. Here's what he said: "You must have nothing to do."

Actually, that's not true. I haven't watched the tape of "Columbo" with Faye Dunaway yet. I never finished the new John Le Carre novel. But here I sit, thinking about Glavine and his fingers, wondering how the cold in Philadelphia would've affected him had he gotten to pitch a Game 7 of the NLCS. Here's why:

Glavine has this little problem. It's called Raynaud's disease. On cold days, three fingers on his left hand feel sort of tingly. (Since you asked: Middle, index, ring.) We learned all this back in February, when Bobby Cox named Greg Maddux his opening-day starter in Chicago. Why Maddux over Glavine? Because, Cox said, Glavine's fingers act up when it gets nippy.

And that was that, over and forgotten. But then the Braves fell behind Philly 3-2 in the NLCS, with Maddux and Glavine left to work Games 6 and 7. Maddux lost, ending the series. But say Maddux had won. Would Raynaud's disease, I wanted to know, have undone Glavine in Game 7? So I called him and asked. He laughed.

Another Series Ends 1 Game Too Soon

The fingers would've been fine, he said. But don't they get cold and tingly? "They do," he said. "But I would've pitched." With out difficulty? "It's a little more of a problem in cold weather. I have to concentrate on keeping them warm between innings. I usually use a hand-warmer or a hot-water bottle."

As he sat in the dugout during Game 6, was Glavine thinking: My fingers are going to betray me tomorrow, and this whole season will be blown because of this Raynaud's disease? No, he said. "It's not something I let bother me, " either mentally or physically. Glavine wasn't dreading Game 7 at all. As a pitcher, he wanted to pitch, in blizzard conditions if necessary. But opportunity never arrive. Bummer.

For Glavine, it was the second consecutive postseason series that ended one night too soon. You'll recall that he was scheduled to work Game 7 of the 1992 World Series, which ended after six games. Now this. The feeling he had flying back from Philly, Glavine said, "was very similiar to what I thought last year. I felt we were going to get to Game 7 and I was going to win it."

Seeing the World Series proceed without the Braves was a strange sensation. Said Glavine: "You can make the argument that we're the best team in baseball, but being that on paper doesn't cut it." Indeed, it's tough to reconcile this: If the Braves are baseball's finest, then what does that make Toronot, owner of back-to-back world championships?

Losing To Phils Spurs No Backlash

Had the '93 season unfolded differently, losing to the Phillies might have sent the Braves and their fans into an inconsolable funk. That hasn't quite happened. No real backlash has hit. Said Glavine: "I'm a little surprised. But I think people got so caught up in us being so far back and winning the division that it took the bitterness away. . .I think people have handled it pretty well. The general reaction seems to be that we had a great season and there's nothing to be disappointed about."

Glavine figures to finish behind Maddux in the Cy Young balloting, the results of which will be announced today. It's a close call, Glavine having 22 games to Maddux's 20 but Maddux holding the better ERA. "I'm taking the approach that I'm not going to get it," Glavine said. "and I won't be the least bit bothered if I'm second to Greg. If I end up lower than second, then I'll be a little upset."

But not overly. Chagrin is in not getting the chance to win the pennant for your team, even if that chance would've fallen on a chilly night. How chilly? Well, the low for Philadelphia on Oct. 14, the night Game 7 would've been played, was 45 degrees. I know because I checked. I probably do need to go get a life.