After years of tormenting them as a member of the Atlanta Braves, Tom Glavine took his talented left arm to New York and signed as a free agent with the Mets prior to the 2003 season. Most Met fans had mixed emotions over the signing. True they were getting a two-time Cy Young award winner and future Hall of Famer but they were also getting someone they grew to hate over the years as a member of their hated rival.
Glavine didn’t exactly endear himself to Met fans early on as he was shellacked in his first game as Met. On Opening Day 2003 he lasted just 3 2/3 innings while giving up 8 hits and 5 runs. Things didn’t exactly pick up from that point as he struggled for most of the season, finishing with a 9 and 14 record and 4.52 ERA. It was the first time since 1988 that Glavine posted a losing record and failed to win 10 games. The highlight of his first season in New York came in September when his brother Mike was brought up from the minors and they became the first brothers to play for the Mets.
In 2004, Glavine started the season pitching like his old self. He started out with a 7-3 record with a 2.03 ERA and was named to the National League All – Star team. Included in his fast start was a one hit shutout against the Montreal Expos on May 23rd. However, he struggled during the second half of the season and once again finished with a losing record, this time 11-14. It did not help matters that he was involved in a car accident while riding in a taxi and lost his front teeth.
His third season in New York turned out to be the opposite of his second. In 2005, he started with a 5 and 7 record with a 4.93 ERA. However, he managed to turn his season around in the second half and finished with a 13 and 13 record while lowering his ERA by nearly a run and a half.
2006 turned out to be his best season with the Mets not only personally but for the team as well. The Mets ran away and won the National League Eastern Division while Glavine led the team with 15 wins. During the months of May and June, he was 8 and 0 and with his record at 11-2 was selected to his second National League All-Star team while with the Mets. During the postseason, he won his only start in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitching six shutout innings. In the NLCS against the St Louis Cardinals, he won the opening game of the series once again pitching shutout baseball, this time for seven innings. But he lost the critical game five, which would have given the Mets a 3-2 series lead. The Mets would lose the series in seven games.
Tom Glavine’s original contract with the Mets was up following the 2006 season, but sensing the Mets had unfinished business after failing to achieve their goal of a World Series title in 2006, Glavine resigned with the Mets for another year. But by the end of the season Mets fans had wished that Tom Glavine had never worn a Met uniform. Things were initially going well for the Mets and Glavine. They were cruising to their second straight division title and Glavine was enjoying another solid season. Along the way Glavine became the 23rd pitcher and just the 6th lefthander to win 300 games. He accomplished the feat on August 5th against the Chicago Cubs. But then it happened, with the Mets in the midst of the worst September collapse in baseball history Glavine pitched two of the worst games of his career. First on September 25th he allowed six runs over five innings as the Mets lost to the Washington Nationals 10-9. Than on the last day of the season with the Mets needing a victory to either win the division or force a one game playoff against the Philadelphia Phillies Glavine completely imploded. He lasted just 1/3 of an inning allowing 5 hits, 2 walks and 7 earned runs. The game was over before it started and the Mets season was lost.
At that point Met fans were willing to drive Glavine to the airport as he left town. Glavine returned to Atlanta where he pitched a half season before an arm injury ended his career,
In five seasons with the Mets Tom Glavine finished with a 61-56 record and 3.97 ERA.
While with the Mets Glavine wore number 47.
Tom Glavine also played for the Atlanta Braves from 1987-2002 and 2008.
Tom Glavine was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.