1998 NEWS

1998 News > 11/18/98


By Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

San Diego teammates Trevor Hoffman and Kevin Brown siphoned votes away from each other, enabling Atlanta's Tom Glavine to slip in the back door Tuesday and claim the National League Cy Young Award for 1998.

Glavine won his second Cy Young Award despite receiving two fewer first-place votes than Hoffman in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. It was the first time a pitcher won the award without collecting the most first-place votes.

"It just goes to show a lot of guys had great years and deserved consideration," said Glavine, still celebrating his marriage on Saturday. "Fortunately for me, it's the total number of votes and not just the most first-place votes."

With points awarded on a 5-3-1 system, Glavine collected 11 first-place votes, 13 seconds and five thirds for a total of 99 points. Hoffman, the Padres' dominating closer, garnered 13 first-place votes, five seconds and eight thirds for 88 points. Some of the 32 voters (two in each NL city) didn't think a reliever merited the same consideration as a starter. Hoffman was omitted from six ballots, whereas Glavine was listed on all but three.

Hoffman said he'd leave it to others to decide if he got a raw deal.

"It's tough," he said. "What it came down to with some of the writers was they had a difficult decision about what they felt was the criteria. For me not to be on six ballots, that I didn't belong, that tells you how they feel about relievers."

No relief pitcher has won a Cy Young Award since Oakland's Dennis Eckersley in the American League in 1992. The last NL reliever to claim it was San Diego's Mark Davis in 1989.

Asked if he thought a reliever should be considered above a starter for the award, Glavine said, "I'm not sure how I feel about that. "If it's a year when no starting pitcher had a clear-cut great year, I guess it should go to a reliever. If somebody's the clear-cut winner, he should be the winner whether he's a starting pitcher or reliever."

Brown, the Padres' ace, collected eight first-place votes and was named on 28 ballots to finish third with 76 points.

"Maybe they took away from each other's votes, but I feel my numbers speak for themselves," Glavine said.

Glavine's honor gave the Braves their sixth Cy Young Award in eight years. Pedro Martinez, who won last year while pitching for Montreal, and Greg Maddux, Glavine's teammate who won his first of four consecutive Cy Young Awards in 1992 as a member of the Chicago Cubs, are the only non-Braves to win in that span.

The 32-year-old left-hander, who won the award in 1991, was the NL's only 20-game winner with a 20-6 record. His 2.46 earned run average was the third-best in the league.

Hoffman had perhaps the best season of any closer in history, converting 53 of 54 save opportunities to go with a 1.48 ERA. He struck out 86 batters in 73 innings and, along with Brown, propelled the Padres past the Braves and into the World Series.

Maddux appeared to have a lock on his fifth Cy Young Award with a 12-2 record at the break, but slipped to 6-7 in the second half despite maintaining the league's ERA lead (2.22).