Glavine’s gem clinches title for Braves
Tom Glavine was facing baseball’s best lineup for the second time in six days – with a World Series title on the line.
But given only the slimmest of margins to work with, the Braves’ unflappable lefty authored one of the greatest performances in postseason history.
Glavine shut out the Cleveland Indians over eight innings of Game 6 of the World Series, earning a 1-0 win and clinching the championship for Atlanta on Oct. 28, 1995. Glavine allowed just three walks and one harmless sixth-inning single to Tony Peña, never permitting more than one baserunner in an inning.
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“This has been a long time coming,” Glavine told the San Francisco Examiner, referring to the Braves’ losses in the 1991 and 1992 World Series and 1993 NLCS.
In a game dripping with tension, Glavine took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Peña’s bloop single fell into right-center field to lead off the inning. But Glavine worked around a fielder’s choice that put speedy Kenny Lofton on first base – surrendering a Lofton stolen base but stranding him at second when Omar Vizquel popped out to end the frame.
Then in the bottom of the sixth, Jim Poole – who had worked out of a two-on and two-out jam in the fifth – caught too much of home plate with a curveball to David Justice. The Braves’ right fielder smashed the offering deep to right field at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, giving Glavine the only run he would need.
Glavine allowed only a walk to Eddie Murray in the seventh and retired the Indians in order in the eighth. But upon returning to the bench after the eighth inning, Glavine told Braves manager Bobby Cox to call the bullpen.
“It was difficult to come out of a game like that, to keep your ego in check,” Glavine said. “But we had a long offensive inning in the seventh and I started stiffening up at the start of the eighth, and I was having trouble getting loose. As much as I wanted to finish, I knew I hadn’t thrown any good pitches (in the eighth inning), and that was enough.”
Cox tabbed Mark Wohlers to pitch the ninth, and the Braves’ closer retired Lofton, Paul Sorrento and Carlos Baerga in order to lock up the title.
Glavine, who also won Game 2 of the World Series, was named the Most Valuable Player after posting a 1.29 ERA over 14 innings of work.
It was only the fourth time the Indians were shut out during a season in which they led the major leagues in batting average, runs scored and home runs.
Glavine had pitched well throughout the 1995 season – going 16-7 with a 3.08 ERA – despite enduring fan criticism. As one of the most prominent player voices during the 1994-95 work stoppage, Glavine was singled out by fans – especially on the road.
“It got real bad,” Braves broadcaster Joe Simpson told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “People took an immediate dislike to everything he said or did.”
But with one unforgettable performance in the World Series, Glavine made the past – and the Indians’ bats – disappear.
“I’ve seen Tommy throw a lot of great games,” said Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone. “But given the circumstances and the pressure on us all, he was about as good as I’ve ever seen him.”
Glavine was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum