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The 29 Most Important Braves During the Streak: #5, Tom Glavine

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For some reason I'm just not the biggest Tom Glavine fan. Maybe it's his ties to the player's union during the strike, or the snobbish attitude he carries around sometimes, or the way he left the Braves for the Mets (all about the money), but all of those things probably contribute to why I only have him ranked at number five - not that everyone above him doesn't deserve to be ranked there, but I'm sure some could make the argument that he deserves to be a bit higher.

Glav was a big part of the worst to first year in '91 when his entire game just about doubled in productivity - his ERA went from 4.28 to 2.55 and he won twice as many games as he had the year before - and the league rewarded him with his first Cy Young. Glavine also struck out more batters that year than in any other year in his career, 192 - and he only once again came within 30 of that number - proving that he wasn't really a strikeout pitcher. The most impressive stat for Glavine is the amount of 20-win seasons he's collected - five of them. Among active pitchers only Roger Clemens (6) has more. The 20-win season has become somewhat of a lost art in today's game with many starting pitchers not going deep into enough games to rack up the wins - it's no wonder then that Glavine is one of only three active members of the 4000 innings pitched club. While that's not a glamorous stat, one has to wonder if any of the pitchers who are coming up in the Major Leagues today will reach those kinds of totals. That is a sign of the changing game, but even Glavine would not crack the top-35 of the career leaders for innings pitched.

In the postseason Glavine was a mixed bag; some years he was virtually untouchable and others he was all too hittable. All of that contributes to his 12-15 postseason record with the Braves. While I have been critical of his record in the past he did nonetheless win 12 games, and his excellence in the '95 World Series - especially his 8-inning one-hitter in Game 6 - got him named the MVP of the Series. But his struggles the last four postseason he was with Atlanta are some of what lingers in my mind (and probably many others); in 2000 and 2002 he absolutely collapsed against the Cardinals and Giants.

At any rate, my bias aside, Glavine was one hell of a pitcher (still is in fact). Ten All-Star appearances, two Cy Youngs, a World Series MVP - twice he finished second for the Cy Young and twice he finished third. Tom Glavine will be a first ballot hall of famer, regardless of whether or not he gets number 300. Speaking of the Hall of Fame, the rest of the top-5 will also get Hall nods when their time comes.