1995 NEWS

1995 News > 10/28/95

GLAVINE COULD BECOME A HERO

By Drew Olson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

He has won more games than any pitcher in baseball over the past five years, yet still finds himself the No. 2 starter on his own team and a constant target of persistent booing every time he takes the mound at his home stadium.

Welcome to Tom Glavine's world.

The Atlanta left-hander, who labors in the considerable shadow cast by standout teammate Greg Maddux, drew the ire of Braves fans by making some harsh comments during the strike last year.

Since then, he has worked to make amends. A victory Saturday night just might finish the job.

With his team one game away from its first championship while calling Atlanta home, Glavine is to start for the Braves against Cleveland in Game 6 of the World Series.

"It's an opportunity that every pitcher wants to have," said Glavine, who was the winner in Game 2. "You want to be out there in the deciding game."

Though every move he makes will be cheered by the home fans Saturday night, Glavine remembers the sting of being booed earlier this year.

"It's hard not to think about it, because it's been brought up," he said. "Nobody likes to be booed, whether it's on the road or at home. But, I'm not going out there to pitch to vindicate myself because of what happened. I'm going out to pitch because it's my turn and I want to help the team win.

"I can't think, `Gee, if I win this game everybody is going to like me again.' I just need to go out there and keep it as simple as possible."

Things can't get much simpler for Cleveland, which beat Maddux by a 5-4 margin in Game 5 Thursday night at Jacobs Field.

A victory forces Game 7, while a loss ends the season.

"Just winning last night had an impact," said Cleveland veteran right-hander Dennis Martinez, who will start opposite Glavine. "If we lose now, we can go back with our heads up. If we win, who knows?"

The Indians breathed a gigantic sigh of relief after upending the seemingly infallible Maddux. Braves manager Bobby Cox will respond by pulling a second ace out of his sleeve.

Maddux won the last three National League Cy Young Awards and is destined to add a fourth to his trophy case this winter. In addition to the 1991 trophy, Glavine owns 91 victories over the past five years including 20 a season from 1991-'93.

"There's not much difference between the two," Cox said of Maddux and Glavine. "You're talking about two machines really. They're as close as you can get.

"You're talking about the best right-hander in the National League (Maddux) and the best left-hander (Glavine). That's not too bad."

Glavine was asked if he learned any lessons from pitching in Game 2 and watching the Indians hitters in subsequent games.

"When you sit and watch a team for a while, you pick up some things," he said. "I could learn all kinds of things, but if I don't go out and execute it doesn't matter."

Many observers feel that Martinez's experience pitching in the National League will be an advantage because he is familiar with the surroundings in Fulton County Stadium and with the Atlanta lineup.

That asset may be offset, however, by the pain he feels in his 40-year-old body. At times this season, Martinez has struggled with a sore shoulder, elbow and knee.

"I am not 100%," he said. "I've been dealing with this for around a month and a half. I'm just trying to be mentally tough.

"Right now, I think I'll be OK for tomorrow. If I don't (feel OK) I'll be the first one to talk to Mike (Hargrove) about it. But, I feel good.

"I'm not going to try and be a hero and hurt the ballclub."