Glavine captures second NL Cy Young Award
Tom Glavine had already won one Cy Young Award in 1991.
But he wanted a second one – maybe even more than the first.
“Having won it one time, I had a burning desire to win it again,” Glavine told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “just to prove that the first time wasn’t a fluke.”
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Coming off a season in which he went 20-6 with a 2.47 ERA, the Braves left-hander got his wish on Nov. 17, 1998, becoming just the sixth NL pitcher to win multiple Cy Young Awards.
Glavine also took home the NL Silver Slugger Award and secured his fourth 20-win season, having worked seven or more innings in 22 of his 33 starts.
The Braves’ season had ended just over a month earlier, when they fell to the Padres in the NLCS – and San Diego was well-represented in the Cy Young Award voting as well: Glavine narrowly beat out Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, despite earning only 11 first-place votes to Hoffman’s 13, while San Diego right-hander Kevin Brown finished in third for the honor.
“The nearness of the guys who put together strong years made for an uncertain feeling,” Glavine said. “But I didn’t worry about it too much. I just kind of let the day come and hoped for good news. Either way, I would’ve been happy with the year I’ve had. This obviously makes it a lot happier.”
During the season, Glavine’s teammate Greg Maddux was the early favorite for the award. Glavine had even declared Maddux the winner in early August, when the right-hander was 15-5 and led the league in ERA. In the end, though, a strong finish to the season was enough to seal the honor for Glavine, who allowed only 18 runs in his last 11 games.
“That’s why none of us try to get caught up in what’s happening in the moment, because we know in a short period of time a lot of things can change,” Glavine said. “The fact that Greg didn’t pitch as strongly in the last few weeks of the season opened an opportunity for me. I was fortunate I could sneak in there and win it.”
Maddux missed out on his fifth career Cy Young Award, but he still landed in fourth place, tied with yet another Atlanta hurler, John Smoltz. It was just the second time in NL history that one team had placed three pitchers in the top five of Cy Young voting, after Dodgers pitchers Mike Marshall, Andy Messersmith and Don Sutton finished first, second and fourth, respectively, in 1974.
Glavine’s honor marked the seventh NL Cy Young Award won by a Braves pitcher and gave the organization six of the last eight awarded.
But it wasn’t the first milestone of the week for Glavine: Three days earlier, on Nov. 14, he married his wife, Chris, at their home in Alpharetta, Ga.
“I wanted to have the wedding first, because no matter what happened, I’d be happy,” Glavine said. “This is a nice belated wedding present.”
Glavine closed out his 22-year career with 305 career wins and a 3.54 ERA and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.
Janey Murray was the digital content specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum