Thomas, Glavine and Maddox Grace the Hall

Thomas, Glavine and Maddox Grace the Hall

 

Frank Thomas should have warned the media to wear their sunglasses. His sun blinding smile soaked up the Waldorf Astoria ballroom Thursday when he was introduced along with Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux as the 2014 Hall of Fame inductees. Ascend/En La Escena – On The Scene – was on the scene for this event.  One year after the Baseball Writers of America did not vote any player into Cooperstown amid steroid allegations surrounding the eligible players, all three players were voted in on their first year on the ballot. They not only spoke on what they accomplished on the field, but also spoke about the way they carried themselves off of it.

 

Had Frank Thomas been more successful on the gridiron, he might not be in New York putting on his Hall of Fame jersey and hat. After his freshman year at Auburn, his college coach told him he was a good football player, but could be a great baseball player. Thomas never looked back. At the conclusion of a stellar 19 year career, Thomas finished with 521 home runs, 1,704 RBI’s and a .301 batting average. More remarkable for a guy his size (6’5 240lbs) is that he is the ONLY player in the history of the game with 7 straight years of 20+ homer, 100 RBI’s, 100 walks and a .300 batting average. Think of all the great players who have a plaque in Cooperstown. Thomas stands alone in those categories. He’s most pleased with his batting average against what described as the “top tier” pitchers he faced. “I hit the great ones. I think my career batting average is much better against the top tier pitchers,” Thomas said as recalls facing the greatest and game that has ever been seen in New York.

 

“I did great early and then not so great the next ten years. He made mistakes with me early and I took advantage of it. The next 10 year period, he never made a mistake.” Over his 19 year career, Thomas’ mistakes were few and far between,” Yankees Marino Rivera said.

 

The two were born just 20 days apart and when their major league careers were finished Tom Glavine (305) and Greg Maddux (355) combined for 660 victories. Both pitched 28 years as members of the Atlanta Braves winning 436 games. It is okay to say they were the best two pitchers in baseball from 1989 thru 2002. In 12 seasons, Glavine won more than 15 games – 9 times. He won 20 games 5 times during that stretch. He signed as a free agent with the New York Mets in 2003 winning 52 games, including the magical #300 in 2007. Maddux began his career with the Chicago Cubs winning 18 games in 1988. It began a streak of at least 15 wins for the next 17 straight seasons, the longest streak by any pitcher in the history of the game. It is only fitting that they will accompany their manager Bobby Cox into the Hall as Cox was voted in last year.

 

“To have the opportunity to go in with Greg and Bobby, two guys that have been so instrumental and influential is even more special,” said Glavine.

 

Maddux, who had an opportunity to sign with the Yankees as a free agent before signing with Atlanta, threw over 5,000 innings, striking out over 3,300 batters. The “Ferris Bueller” look a-like was a master of “painting” the corner of the plate with a variety of pitches that never topped over 90mph.   “It’s a tremendous honor to be included in this,” said the soft spoken Maddux. “I can’t wait to meet some of the guys that are already in the Hall of Fame. To share this moment with Glav and Frank is a very special moment as well. It a tremendous honor.”

The steroid cloud will hover over baseball for as long as the game is played. Deciding who should be voted in based on the speculation of what player may or may not have used illegal supplements will be that scab that simply will not go away.

For one day however, 3 guys, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux had baseball fans and writers talking about all the good things they did on and off the field.  This was an event to be remembered by all who attended.

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