Monday, August 6, 2007

300 (and Counting)!

This really has been a season full of more milestones than usual: Tom Glavine knows exactly why his 300th win should be savored.

"If I was the last one, I guess it would be pretty cool to be the last one to do something in the game," he said Sunday night after leading the New York Mets over the Chicago Cubs 8-3.

It was vintage Glavine, mixing pitches and fooling hitters, all the things that over the years made him one of baseball's best pitchers. With nervous family and friends looking on, Glavine left with a five-run lead after 6 1/3 innings, and New York's bullpen held on.

"It wasn't a dazzling performance in terms of striking people out. It was an exercise in hitting my spots and changing speeds and letting the guys behind me do their work," he said, a look of relief on his face.

Glavine (10-6) became the first 300-game winner since former teammate Greg Maddux reached the milestone in 2004 while with the Cubs.

"I think the feeling right now is probably relief," Glavine said. "At some point in time, I don't know when, the historic side of it will sink in. I know the company I'm in, and I'm as proud as can be to be in that company."

The club might be closed.

Randy Johnson has 284 wins but back problems have plagued him and he turns 44 in September.

Glavine's New England upbringing (his father, Fred, was a construction worker who seldom missed a day on the job) has served him well , particularly early in his career when he could have deferred to injury. He overcame a torn rotator cuff -- he won 22 games despite it in 1993, broken ribs which he believes cost him the Cy Young Award a year earlier, an accident that cost him his two front teeth and, last year, cold fingertips and a blood clot scare.

Glavine is not going to approach Warren Spahn's 363 victories, the most by a left-handed pitcher, or even Steve Carlton's 329. But most of his career has overlapped with the era of incomplete games when victories and losses have been harder to come by for a starter. No matter, he is quite content with life on the cusp, so long as it continues to move forward.


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