A former Los Angeles Kings draft choice was officially enshrined into the Hall of Fame on Sunday, albeit not the one celebrating hockey.
Former Atlanta Braves and New York Mets pitcher Tom Glavine was in Cooperstown, New York, on Sunday celebrating his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame along with longtime teammate and manager Greg Maddux and Bobby Cox, in addition to slugger Frank Thomas and managers Tony La Russa and Joe Torre.
While giving his speech, Glavine, 48, told the audience of the tale of when he hit snowballs at passing cars outside of his parents' home as a child and how it was then and there when he realized the immense strength of his left arm. Glavine then fast-forwarded to when he was faced with a difficult career decision. The former World Series MVP elaborated:
"We all have choice to make in life and in June of 1984, I was an 18-year-old kid enjoying high school graduation and looking forward to going to college. Within the span of a couple weeks, I had the good fortune of being drafted by the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL and the Atlanta Braves. I had a choice to make and as a left-handed pitcher, I thought that was the thing that would set me apart and make baseball the smartest decision."
But the two-time Cy Young winner wasn't done there, leaving room for some comedy.
"Of course, I always wondered what would have happened had I taken up hockey. In my mind, of course, since I was drafted ahead of two Hall-of-Famers, Luc Robitaille and Brett Hull, that obvious would have meant I would have been a Hall-of-Famer in hockey, too."
In all seriousness, there really is no reason to wonder what would have happened had Tom Glavine chose hockey and, more specifically, the Los Angeles Kings as he clearly made the right decision.
During his storied 22-year career, Glavine won 305 games, 2607 strikeouts, five 20-win seasons, a 10-time all-star and (as already mentioned) a two-time Cy Young Award winner. Glavine was also an integral part of the glory years of the Atlanta Braves during the 1990's where he helped them win 11-straight division titles, five National League pennants and a World Series in 1995, including MVP honours for himself.
But the native of Concord, Massachusetts, also had to deal with his share of adversity. He was off to a slow start in his career but with the guidance of teammates and his aforementioned manager Bobby Cox, the lefty found his way. Then, during the infamous players' strike in 1994, Glavine, one of the leaders of the MLB's Players Association, was alienated by baseball's most loyal fans, even those from Atlanta, for his stand on refusing to play due to the power of the almighty dollar. But time healed those wounds and so did a championship as Glavine redeemed himself, giving the Braves their first championship since 1957 when the team was still in Milwaukee.
Overall, Tom Glavine was deserving to stand up on that podium at Cooperstown as he rightfully made his place into the annals of baseball history where he will forever be enshrined. July 27, 2014 was a date I am sure Tom Glavine and his family will never forget. But it still leaves me wondering one very important question:
What if Tom Glavine were right-handed?