I’d be remiss if I didn’t take note of the election of former Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine (along with slugger Frank Thomas) to baseball’s Hall of Fame yesterday. It’s been much noted that the very high vote totals both men earned in their first year of HOF eligibility is partially attributable to their clean reputations in an era marred by steroid use. But regardless of that issue, they were the anchors (along with John Smolz, who will become eligible for the Hall next year) of one of the best long-term pitching rotations in baseball history, and the key factor in the Braves’ remarkable streak of 14 consecutive division titles.
Though I’m very much a Georgia Boy, I have a peculiar relationship with Braves fandom. They were mostly terrible during my young adulthood (I still believe the Tomahawk Chop actually originated with a bunch of us Sam Nunn staffers drunkenly performing the FSU war chant at a 1990 game where they may have been 2,000 fans present). And I moved away permanently when The Streak was just gaining momentum, which was also about the time I temporarily lost interest in MLB because my Bill James tutoring got me into too many arguments with fans who didn’t like all that statistical bushwah.
Now the Streak is history, sabermetrics are part of baseball’s CW, and Maddux and Glavine are headed to the Hall. I wish now I had savored their performances more faithfully.