Tom Glavine, from Billerica to Hall of Fame

Tom Glavine, right, spoke about his Hall of Fame election on Wednesday.
John Amis/AP
Tom Glavine, right, spoke about his Hall of Fame election on Wednesday.

He grew up on Treble Cove Road in Billerica, the son of a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom. He learned hard work from his dad and, he said, stubbornness from his mom.

“I think the combination of the two is what helped me become who I was as a pitcher,” said Tom Glavine.

Glavine, who with 305 victories is the fourth-winningest lefthander in baseball history, was one of three players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in voting results announced Wednesday. He received 91.9 percent of the vote, finishing second to former Braves teammates Greg Maddux, who received 97.2 percent.


Slugging first baseman/DH Frank Thomas, who spent the majority of his career with the Chicago White Sox, also was elected, with 83.7 percent of the vote.

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In all, 571 ballots were cast by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. To be enshrined, candidates must receive 75 percent of the vote.

Maddux, who won 355 games and four Cy Young Awards, was left off the ballot by 16 voters. Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio received 74.8 percent of the vote, missing election by two votes.

Maddux and Glavine will join their former manager, Bobby Cox — who was elected by the Veterans Committee in December along with Joe Torre and Tony La Russa — to form a Braves triumvirate on the stage in Cooperstown, N.Y., for the induction ceremony July 27.

“I think that’s the special part for all of us, that the people I so respected and meant so much for me will be there with me,” said Glavine.


Others finishing with substantial vote totals were Mike Piazza with 62.2 percent and Jack Morris — appearing on the writers ballot for the 15th and final time — with 61.5 percent, down 4 points from 2013. Morris will be eligible for a Veterans Committee vote in three years.

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, two players linked to performance-enhancing drugs, took a hit in the voting, as did former Red Sox righthander Curt Schilling. Clemens received 37.6 percent of the vote last year, but fell to 35.4 percent this year. Bonds received 36.2 last time and fell to 34.7 percent.

Schilling declined from 38.8 percent to 29.2.

A first-timer expected to do well, pitcher Mike Mussina, appeared on only 20.3 percent of the ballots, while fellow first-timer Jeff Kent, one of the best offensive second basemen in history, received only 15.2 percent.

Former Red Sox farmhand Jeff Bagwell, who had a long career with the Astros, received 54.3 percent, down from 59.6 in 2013, when no players were elected by the writers.


Glavine, who also will be honored with the Judge Emil Fuchs Award for long and meritorious service to baseball at the Jan. 23 Boston Baseball Writers Association dinner, got the news at his home in Alpharetta, Ga., where he lives with his wife Christine and five children.

“I learned so much from Greg about pitching,” said Glavine. “He taught me that the hitter will be your biggest source of information, things like how he swings and misses, what he’s fouling off. Those things help you come up with a sequence of pitches for each hitter.

“We had so many incredible discussions in our dugout with Greg and Smoltzie [John Smoltz], who I hope will get in next year.”

In addition to Smoltz, who ended his career with Boston, former Red Sox star Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson will be favorites to get elected next year. Biggio should also get in, and Piazza, the greatest offensive catcher in history, could climb closer.

Glavine, who was the 1995 World Series MVP — throwing a brilliant 1-0 win in the clinching Game 6 — graduated from Billerica Memorial High School and had the opportunity to play professional hockey as well. He was a second-round pick of the Braves and a fourth-round pick (69th overall) of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.

His signature pitch was the circle-change, which he discovered accidentally when he picked up a ball off the ground and happened to grip it a funny way. He was a master at working the outside corner of the plate.

Maddux was considered one of the great finesse pitchers of all time, rarely throwing harder than the mid 80s with his fastball. Maddux had praise for Glavine, too.

“I learned a lot from Tom,” Maddux said. “I learned that you don’t have to be 100 percent physically to pitch effectively. He never had to say it. I saw it.”

Maddux and Glavine were one of the best 1-2 combinations in baseball history, and both pitched for teams other than Atlanta. Maddux started his career with the Cubs and ended it with the Dodgers, while Glavine fled to the Mets before returning to the Braves for one final season.

“It’s very humbling to go in with these guys,” Maddux said. “It’s just icing on the cake. It’s going to be a special day, and I’m going to be able to share it with special people.”

Thomas, who was known as “The Big Hurt,” played tight end on the football team at Auburn University. While he was a fierce slugger and feared hitter, he also was patient at the plate, compiling a career .419 on-base percentage and a .974 OPS.

He was never linked to steroids and in fact was outspoken against them.

Thomas’s election gives hope to designated hitters such as Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz. Of the 2,322 career games he played, 1,351 came as a DH and 971 were at first base.

“This has been a stressful 48 hours,” Thomas said in a statement. “I am so excited that I’m in the Hall of Fame.

“This is something that I will have to sit back in the next three or four days and figure it out, because you can only dream so big, and this is as big as it gets for me.

“I’m a Georgia kid. Going in with Glavine, Maddux, and Bobby Cox means a lot to me. The whole state of Georgia is going to be there, and I am just so blessed that I’ll be able to be there with these guys.”

Nick Cafardo can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.