Friday, February 12, 2010

Glavine & Big Hurt Retire

Two future Hall of Famers formally announced their retirements over the past couple of days.

Yesterday, pitcher Tom Glavine announced his retirement after 22 big league seasons with the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets. He won 305 big league games, was a two time NL Cy Young Award winner, an 11 time NL All-Star and earned a World Series ring in 1995. Glavine will work in the Braves front office.

Glavine grew up in Massachusetts. Several years ago, I met one of his classmates in elementary school. She told me that he was a star athlete in baseball and hockey but that he was the antithesis of a jock. His parents kept him centered and as such he treated everyone around him well even those who lacked social standing. He never thought his athletic gifts made him a better human being than anyone else and he carried forth that demeanor during his big league career.

Today, Frank Thomas retired after 19 big league seasons mostly with the Chicago White Sox. "The Big Hurt" also had stints with the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics. Thomas won back to back AL MVP Awards in 1993 and 1994, won an AL batting title in 1997, drove in 100 or more runs 11 times, collected 100 or more walks ten times (led the AL in walks on four occasions) and finished his career with nearly 2,500 hits. Oh yes? He hit 521 career home runs tied for 18th on the all time list with Ted Williams.

The Big Hurt should be inducted into the Hall on the first ballot. But I wonder if the bias of the BBWAA against DH might keep him out for a year or two. If it does he won't wait nearly as long as Jim Rice or Andre Dawson did.

Neither Glavine nor Thomas played during the 2009 season. Although they might share the stage at Coopersotwn they never faced each other in big league competition.

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