There might just be a Tomahawk Chop chant on Hall of Fame induction day. The 2014 class will include three greats from the Atlanta Braves of the 1990s — pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, as well as their skipper Bobby Cox.
So much has been made about Maddux and his Hall of Fame case. He was the surest thing on the ballot this year. Cox, meanwhile, was selected by the Veterans Committee in December due to his 2,504 wins as a manager, the fourth-most all time.
And Glavine? Well, there's no doubt he had a great career, but once again, he finds himself playing the No. 2 role to Maddux. Isn't that just fitting?
Maddux's helping of the Hall of Fame vote was a little better than Glavine's — 97.2 to 91.9 — and rightly so, but the two were atop the Hall of Fame's new-inductees list, which also includes slugger Frank Thomas.
While there's absolutely nothing wrong with being Maddux's left-hand man, make no mistake, Glavine's merits are Hall of Fame-worthy on their own.
He won 305 games in his 22-year career, maintaining a 3.54 ERA in 4,413 innings pitched. The 300-win plateau virtually assured Glavine a spot in Cooperstown, but the rest of his stellar career got him there on the first ballot.
He finished 102 games over .500 (305-203), something Glavine has said he's quite proud about. Glavine also won two Cy Young awards (1991 and 1998). Using Jay Jaffe's helpful JAWS Hall of Fame rating system, Glavine's 62.9 is better than the average pitcher in the hall (61.4).
He was the World Series MVP in 1995, winning two games, including the Game 6 clincher in which he pitched eight innings of one-hit ball in a 1-0 Braves win. For everything Maddux accomplished, he doesn't have a World Series MVP.
Together, Glavine and Maddux were a superb one-two punch. They spent 10 years in the Braves rotation together, winning nine NL East titles and one World Series during that span. From 1991 to 1998, Maddux and Glavine won six of the eight NL Cy Young awards. (Two of Maddux's came before he joined the Braves in 1993.)
Maddux was once called "the greatest pitcher you'll ever see" by Sports Illustrated. Glavine never would inspire such hyperbole, but many would simply call him great. That's sort of Glavine in a nutshell — super solid, but not the guy you're going to climb to the top of a mountain to sing praises about.
He was, to compare it to another sports dynasty, the Scottie Pippen to Maddux's Michael Jordan. Great on his own, but even more daunting when paired with another of the game's great players.
the call, stoic, but you knew that about him pic.twitter.com/EyyA0gS6vg
— Christine Glavine (@cglavine) January 8, 2014
For as much as the Hall of the Fame is baseball's ultimate individual honor, Glavine is still looking forward to going in as part of the team. He told MLB.com back in November:
"If you get in and go in by yourself, you're proud," Glavine said. "But if you have the opportunity to go in with guys you spent a large chunk of your career with and guys people identify you with, to me that would be even more fun. Now you're able to experience it with guys who, by and large, went through it all with you — or at least a big chunk — and were instrumental in helping you along the way. To be able to share that with a couple of guys would be pretty cool. So hopefully, it will happen."
It happened. And come July, it will indeed be pretty cool for the Braves to stand up there and be welcomed to Cooperstown together. Isn't that a wonderful final word on Glavine and Maddux? They were great on their own, but together there were historic.
- - - - - - -