Monday, August 06, 2007

Glavine Notches 300th Win

Tom Glavine won his 300th major league game last night as the Mets beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field 8-3. Yahoo News AP wire excerpt:

CHICAGO - Tom Glavine knows exactly why his 300th win should be savored. "If I was the last one, I guess it would be pretty cool to be the last one to do something in the game," he said Sunday night after leading the New York Mets over the Chicago Cubs 8-3.

It was vintage Glavine, mixing pitches and fooling hitters, all the things that over the years made him one of baseball's best pitchers. With nervous family and friends looking on, Glavine left with a five-run lead after 6 1-3 innings, and New York's bullpen held on.

"It wasn't a dazzling performance in terms of striking people out. It was an exercise in hitting my spots and changing speeds and letting the guys behind me do their work," he said, a look of relief on his face.

Glavine (10-6) became the first 300-game winner since former Atlanta teammate Greg Maddux reached the milestone in 2004 while with the Cubs. "I think the feeling right now is probably relief," Glavine said. "At some point in time, I don't know when, the historic side of it will sink in. I know the company I'm in, and I'm as proud as can be to be in that company."

The club might be closed. Randy Johnson has 284 wins but back problems have plagued him and he turns 44 in September.

"I'm not saying I want to be the last one," Glavine said. "I would love for someone to have this feeling and this sense of accomplishment."

The 41-year-old Glavine, only the fifth lefty to win 300, capped a momentous weekend in baseball. On Saturday, Barry Bonds hit his 755th homer to tie Hank Aaron's career mark and Alex Rodriguez became the youngest player to reach 500 homers. Glavine said he spoke with baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who also spoke with A-Rod but didn't get in contact with Bonds.

In his first try for No. 300, Glavine left with a one-run lead at Milwaukee only to watch his bullpen blow it. Wife Christine Glavine, who had slumped in her seat at Miller Park, wiped tears from her eyes as Billy Wagner retired Mike Fontenot on a grounder for the final out at Wrigley Field.

Glavine appreciated the warm reception he received at Wrigley Field. Mets fans chanted his name after the game "Tom-mee Glavine!" as he met his family. "It was pretty special moment to be able to hug all those guys on Wrigley Field like I did tonight," he said. "There's no way I could express my gratitude for everything they've done."

Before a crowd of 41,599 on a muggy night, and with flashbulbs popping all over the old neighborhood park, Glavine allowed two runs and six hits, struck out one and walked one. He left after Angel Pagan doubled on his 102nd pitch, getting a high five from manager Willie Randolph on the mound and a standing ovation as he left the field.

Guillermo Mota came in and gave up a single to Jason Kendall, Pedro Feliciano then relieved and gave up an RBI grounder to pinch-hitter Jacque Jones. Fontenot's double made it a 5-3 game, bringing on Aaron Heilman, who retired Ryan Theirot on an inning-ending flyout.

Glavine was the third pitcher looking for his 300th win at Wrigley Field in the last five seasons. Roger Clemens (June 7, 2003) and Maddux (Aug. 1, 2004) both failed.

Glavine won his first game with the Braves on Aug. 22, 1987, was a five-time 20-game winner with the Braves and joined Maddux and John Smoltz to give Atlanta one of baseball's most formidable rotations. He captured the NL Cy Young Award in 1991 and 1998, was the MVP of the 1995 World Series and is a 10-time All-Star. He went to the Mets as a free agent after the 2002 season.

Before Glavine, no pitcher had won his 300th game in a Mets uniform, although some 300-game winners pitched with New York — Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan and Warren Spahn, who won four games in 1965.

The second and third paragraphs of the excerpt detail exactly the way Glavine has pitched his entire career. A "crafty" lefty, he threw just hard enough to set up his array of breaking pitches that, when he was doing well, could seemingly place anywhere he wanted.

A guy at my wage-slavery containment facility is a Mets fan, and when Glavine took the Mets millions after the 2002 season, I looked at their projected outfield of Cliff Floyd, Timo Perez, Jeromy Burnitz and Roger Cedeno and told this guy that the most uttered phrase out of Glavine's mouth would be "Andruw would have caught that" (refering to Andruw Jones and his impeccable defense in center field). As it turned out, I was right. Glavine went from 18 wins in 2002 to 9 in 2003 and with 14 losses had his first losing season since 1990. David Wright and Jose Reyes arrived in 2004, but were inexperienced, and the addition of Mike Cameron helped a little, but not much as Glavine went 11-14, then 13-13 in 2005. The improvements the Mets in the past couple of years have helped get Glavine's record back into line (15-7 in 2006 and 10-6 this season), but one cannot help but wonder if he'd have been able to acheive his milestone last year if he'd stayed in Atlanta.

In any event, 300 wins is a hell of an achievement, so congratulations to Tom Glavine, major league baseball's 23rd 300-game winner.

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