Tom Glavine was a multisport athlete in high school, and despite having a bright future in hockey after being drafted 69th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1984 NHL draft, the Billerica, Mass., native chose to pursue a career in baseball.
In a recent interview with Kevin Allen of USA Today, former scout and current Anaheim Ducks vice president David McNab said Glavine could have been a quality NHL player.
“He was a great athlete, great hands and could score goals. He was one of the best high school players in the country,” McNab said. “I’m not saying he would have been [retired 50-goal scorer] John LeClair. But as Glavine’s senior year went on, he got better and better. Back then, we didn’t know as much about the players.”
Glavine was one of three players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, joining Atlanta Braves teammate Greg Maddux and Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas.
As a fourth-round draft pick in hockey, Glavine was selected ahead of former All-Star goaltender Kirk McLean, as well as Hockey Hall of Fame forwards Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille. Even though the Kings never got the opportunity to see Glavine play an NHL game, the selection of Robitaille, who became one of the franchise’s best players ever, made the 1984 draft a huge success for the team.
Glavine was chosen in the second round of the 1984 MLB draft by the Braves, and he made his debut with the club Aug. 17, 1987. He went on to win 305 games with a career 3.54 ERA and 2,607 strikeouts. His career highlights include 10 All-Star selections, two Cy Young awards and the 1995 World Series MVP award.
“McNab recalls having lunch with Glavine, and Glavine told him that he was going to sign a pro baseball contract if he were chosen in the first two rounds of the Major League Baseball draft,” Allen wrote.
Looking back, it’s safe to say Glavine made the right choice on which sport to play professionally.