After four years of struggle with a last-place team, Atlanta's Tom Glavine got his personal reward yesterday. He was an easy winner of the Cy Young Award in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America after posting a 20-11 record and leading the Braves to the NL title.
Glavine, 25, is only the second Cy Young winner in Braves history, the first since the club moved to Atlanta. Hall of Famer Warren Spahn won in 1957 for the Milwaukee Braves.
Glavine got 19 of 24 first-place votes and five second-place votes for 110 points. St. Louis Cardinals reliever Lee Smith, who led the majors with 47 saves, was second. Smith got four first-place votes and 60 points. John Smiley of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the only other 20-game winner in the NL, finished third with four second-place votes and 26 points.
"It's a great honor," said Glavine, "one that will forever put my name among some of the greatest pitchers whoever play the game."
The honor is well-deserved for a young pitcher who was only 7-17 in his first full season for Atlanta in 1988, and just 10-12 last year. Even with his 20-victory season, he still is only 53-52 lifetime.