Former Atlanta ace Tom Glavine was elected to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday. (Photo: Tami Chappell/Reuters)
Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine combined to win 347 games for manager Bobby Cox over 10 memorable seasons from 1993 through 2002.
On July 27, the Atlanta Braves trio will go into the Baseball Hall of Fame together in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Cox, the fourth winningest manager in major league history, was choosen by a Hall of Fame expansion-era committee in December. Maddux and Glavine — both 300-game winners — were elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Wednesday.
“What a great day it was for the Atlanta Braves,” said John Schuerholz, the team’s president and former general manager.
Maddux was named on 555 of the 571 ballots submitted by long-time BBWAA members, his 97.2 percent the eighth highest ever. Glavine wasn’t that far behind, receiving votes on 91.7 percent of the ballots.
“It’s exciting for me to go in with my teammate,” Maddux said.
Former Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas was also elected on his first year of eligibility, receiving 483 votes for 83.7 percent.
Former Houston Astros standout Craig Biggio fell just short of getting in, receiving 427 votes and missing by two of the needed 75 percent. It was the third time a player had missed by that close of a margin. Nellie Fox and Pie Traynor both eventually got into the Hall of Fame and Biggio is expected to as well.
Pitcher Jack Morris saw his support drop in his final year of voting eligibility and will have to come off the ballot. The pitching star of the 1991 World Series for the Minnesota Twins against the Braves fell 78 votes short with 61.8 percent.
Maddux had already won his first of four Cy Young Awards when he signed with the Braves as a free agent and Glavine the first of his two. But they were at their best as teammates, pushing each other near perfection.
“You can’t help learning from someone like Greg,” Glavine said. “It was like osmossis. Really, it was the first time I thought about paying attention to what the hitters were telling me and using that to my advantage.”
A third member of the Braves’ staff from that era could join Maddux and Glavine in the Hall of Fame as early as next year, when John Smoltz will be eligibile for the first time.
Glavine was obviously going to get in at some point, but he said he would have been “disappointed” if it wasn’t with Maddux or Cox, who he called the manager the “greatest baseball influence in my life.”
“It is going to be a lot of fun being up there with those two guys,” Glavine said. “I just wish we could also share it with Smoltzie. But we’ll have to wait another year for him.”
Players are eligible five years after retirement and no one — not even Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron — has been a unanimous choice. Pitcher Tom Seaver came the closest, being left off just five ballots in 1992 while receiving 98.84 percent of the votes.
Maddux and Glavine are the first former teammates to gain first-ballot entry in the same year. The only other teammates elected the same year were the New York Yankees’ Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle in 1974. Mantle was a first-ballot inductee, but Ford was inducted during his second year on the ballot.
Maddux, the recipient of a record 18 consecutive Gold Gloves, won 194 of his 355 games with the Braves and had a 2.63 ERA over 11 seasons in Atlanta.
Glavine won 244 games with a 3.41 ERA in 17 years with the Braves and was MVP of the 1995 World Series.
Schuerholz, who presented Glavine with his Hall of Fame hat at a Turner Field media conference, called Glavine’s one-hit effort over eight scoreless innings against the Cleveland Indians in the deciding sixth game the “greatest game by an Atlanta Braves starter.”
When Cox was notified of his Hall of Fame selection in December, he was asked what it would mean to go in with his two aces.
“They’re the guys that got me this far, that’s for sure,” Cox said “It would be just unbelievably great.”
Now he will get that opportunity.