Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 12:54 pm
There's absolutely no doubt that Tony La Russa is headed to the Hall of Fame.
And what a Hall of Fame class it could be.
La Russa will be eligible for a December 2013 vote on the "expansion era" ballot for managers and executives, on a ballot that will also include Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and John Schuerholz, among others. The ballot for managers and executives is separate from the player ballot, but Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine will appear on the player ballot for the first time that same year.
All of them could be part of the same induction ceremony in July 2014.
La Russa, Cox, Torre and Schuerholz would be voted on by a 16-member panel, and each would require 12 votes to be elected. There is no maximum on the number of managers or executives voted in in any one year (although each of the 16 voters has a maximum of five votes).
Posted on: February 12, 2010 11:53 am
Edited on: February 12, 2010 11:54 am
When the Hall of Fame ballot came out in December, I looked at it once, looked at it twice, looked at it again a week later.
There were good names on it (and some bad ones, too). But this was a year where the best candidates fit into the grey area, the debatable area, the area that leads to the great Hall of Fame arguments.
The area that Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson and Tom Glavine don't fit in. The area that Frank Thomas doesn't fit in.
The no-doubt area.
The only question we need to ask is when we can vote them in. And stick with us, because if you haven't been paying close attention, it gets a little tricky.
Glavine announced his retirement Thursday. Thomas announced his retirement today. But since neither of them played in the major leagues in 2009, they'll be eligible in 2014 (or in the December 2013 voting, if you prefer).
In other words, they'll be eligible the same year as Maddux, who announced his retirement more than a year ago. They'll be eligible a year earlier than Johnson, even though he announced his retirement a month before they did.
It's important, because these are guys who have credentials so obvious (and who, so far, aren't steroid-tainted) that they should be first-ballot Hall of Famers.
How can you argue with Glavine, who has the fourth-most wins of any left-hander all-time? How can you argue with Thomas, who for seven straight years finished in the Top 10 in American League MVP voting, winning it back-to-back in 1993 and '94?
Phil Rogers made the argument in the Chicago Tribune that Thomas was the best right-handed hitter in baseball from 1990-97. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but by any numbers you want to go by (traditional or sabermetric), Thomas was a great hitter. There were opposing pitchers who made fun of his "Big Hurt" nickname, but few who really wanted to face him.
The late Vern Plagenhoef, who covered the Tigers for many years and taught me more than anyone about this business, used to say that there should only be one vote on every Hall of Fame candidate -- yes or no, he's a Hall of Famer, or he's not. If they're Hall of Famers, they should stand out, and you shouldn't need multiple votes.
Frank Thomas stands out, just as Maddux, Johnson and Glavine stand out.
Those ballots, I could fill out today.
Posted on: February 11, 2010 6:30 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2010 6:53 pm
In 2009, the Braves disappointed John Smoltz, angered Tom Glavine and had at least a few issues with Bobby Cox.
So yes, 2010 is already off to a better start.
It doesn't really matter what Glavine ends up doing in his new role as a special assistant to club president John Schuerholz. What matters more is that the Braves, who have long prided themselves on getting along well with their best players, are now back on good terms with one of the best pitchers they've ever had.
At today's official announcement, Schuerholz called Glavine "one of the real special players in the history of the Atlanta Braves," according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution .
Glavine, always interesting as a player, should be a natural as a part-time team broadcaster. It sounds like his new job is going to be somewhat open-ended, which is perfect for a player who is retiring at age 43 and naturally isn't yet sure what he wants to do with the rest of his life.
We all know what Glavine has done with his life to this point. He retires as the fourth winningest left-hander of all time, with his 305 wins ranking behind only Warren Spahn, Steve Carlton and Eddie Plank (and two ahead of fellow retiree Randy Johnson).
He played a huge part in establishing the Braves' modern tradition, arriving in Atlanta when the team was still a loser in 1987, and staying through 12 straight division titles and five trips to the World Series (with one title).
He left for the Mets, then returned, and tried to last one more year. I remember talking to Glavine in spring training last year, and again at Citi Field when he was on the way to what he thought would be one of his final rehab assignments before coming back to the big leagues. It was easy to root for Glavine to make it back, even as you wondered whether coming back for another year was really the right thing for him or for the Braves.
It was less than a month later that the Braves released Glavine (on the same night that Johnson got his 300th win). They thought that what he showed in the minor leagues wasn't good enough to win in the big leagues. He didn't agree.
It seemed to be the right decision, but at the same time it seemed all wrong, given the way it drove a wedge between the team and one of its biggest all-time stars. The same could be said of the Braves' negotiations with Smoltz a few months earlier, which resulted in Smoltz bolting for the Red Sox.
And the same can be said about the often-testy relationship between Cox and general manager Frank Wren, which resulted in plenty of speculation before Cox announced that he would return for one final season in 2010.
Cox and the organization seem to be on good terms now. And this week, just before the Glavine announcement, Smoltz told the Journal-Constitution that he would be open to returning to the Braves -- as a pitcher.
It's almost always hard for a great player to say good-bye. It's especially tough when his team feels the need to tell him his time is up.
And it's nice when everything eventually works out.
For Tom Glavine, that now seems to be the case.
A week before spring training, the Braves already have their first win of 2010.
Posted on: May 11, 2009 7:09 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2009 7:10 pm
NEW YORK -- In spring training, Tom Glavine was pretty sure he'd make it back from surgery. Then he felt pain in his left shoulder while swinging a bat in what was to be his final rehabilitation start, and he was pretty sure he'd never make it back.
And what about now?
"I'm 75-85 percent confident I'll get out there," the 43-year-old Braves lefty said today at Citi Field.
Glavine has thrown two bullpen sessions, including a 90-pitch workout Friday in Philadelphia. He has an even more intense session scheduled for Wednesday morning, then figures he'll need two rehabilitation starts in the minors before possibly joining the Braves rotation during a May 25-27 series in San Francisco.
Perhaps because of the earlier setback, or simply because he's 43, Glavine said he's not trying not to look too far ahead.
"I'm more prone to living in the moment than at any point in my career," Glavine said. "I feel confident. I'm just more realistic to the possibility that it might not happen."
Glavine said he still doesn't know what caused the earlier setback.
"They can't tell if I just tore some scar tissue adhesions or if I aggravated my rotator cuff," he said. "Maybe it was something that needed to go a little bit."
Posted on: March 21, 2009 4:34 pm
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Braves have so much good young pitching that scouts say their Triple-A Gwinnett team will have a better rotation than some big-league clubs.
Posted on: July 28, 2008 9:48 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2008 11:54 pm
Arizona remains a real possibility, and the Diamondbacks are believed to have offered a package led by Chad Tracy. Atlanta has asked for the Diamondbacks to include either Max Scherzer or Jarrod Parker -- Arizona's top two pitching prospects -- but that's unlikely.
Meanwhile, the Braves say they have other teams interested, with GM Frank Wren telling Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he has deals (plural) on the table for Teixeira, and that he's holding off because he still wants to see if he can do better. The Braves are expecting to narrow the field on Tuesday, although it's possible that it could take until right up to the Thursday 4 p.m. deadline before a trade is completed.
Other teams that have been interested in Teixeira are the Red Sox, and also the two Los Angeles teams. It's not known if there are more teams involved now, but the Rays and the Yankees have also been mentioned in the past.
Teixeira is a big-time hitter, and he's done his part this season with a .283 average, 20 home runs and 78 RBIs in 103 games. But the Braves are now 7 1/2 games out of first place (and 10 1/2 games back in the wild card). They've now put Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson on the DL, joining John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, and it appears that Hudson is going to join Smoltz in the done-for-the-season category.
Not only that, but the Braves have known for a long time that they weren't going to be able to sign Teixeira, a free-agent-to-be, at the end of the season. It's pretty obvious now that the offers they have (not to mention the improved ones they might receive by Thursday) will be more valuable than the two draft picks they'd get by simply keeping Teixeira and letting him walk.
As one Braves person said last week: "The only thing more iffy than a prospect is a draft pick."
So Teixeira is gone, or at least he will be by Thursday. The question still to be answered is where he's going.