Kasten has fond memories of Glavine
Nationals president, lefty won '95 World Series in Atlanta
A few hours after left-hander Tom Glavine announced his retirement as a player Thursday, Nationals president Stan Kasten was pleased to learn that Glavine was named a special assistant to Braves president John Schuerholz.
At one point last season, it looked like Glavine and the Braves would never be reunited. The club released him last June after Glavine completed a rehab assignment.
"It's the exact right thing for him," Kasten said about Glavine's return to Atlanta. "I'm happy that whatever hard feelings there were over the last year, everyone has put it aside and gotten back together. The Braves and Tommy Glavine really do need to be together. Now it looks like they will for the rest of his career. That's great."
It's obvious the respect Kasten has for Glavine goes beyond the baseball field. Kasten loves to talk about how Glavine worked hard when it came to union matters.
The relationship between Kasten and Glavine has been described as "direct." And neither ever took it personally when they disagreed with the other.
"He was the spokesman for the players during the strike of 1994 and '95, and I was the spokesman for the owners," Kasten said. "We worked very hard to keep it professional and not let it get personal. It was a very difficult time for both of us. We managed to [keep it professional]. Sometimes we would fly to meetings and fly home from meetings together. We were able to do our jobs without getting personal in our relationship."
Glavine also is the man who gave Kasten his only World Series championship ring in 1995, when Kasten was team president of the Braves and Glavine pitched for Atlanta. In Game 6 of the World Series, Glavine pitched eight shutout innings to help the Braves clinch the title over the Indians.
"He threw a one-hitter to win the championship. That's a pretty strong memory that I have," Kasten said.
Kasten showed his appreciation for Glavine by going to Milwaukee to watch Glavine's first attempt at his 300th career victory, which ended in a no-decision. Had Glavine won, it would have marked the second time Kasten watched a pitcher win his 300th game. On Aug. 7, 2004, Kasten went to San Francisco to see another former Braves employee -- Greg Maddux -- reach that milestone while with the Cubs.
Kasten joined the Braves as president in 1987. Entering that season, Glavine was one of the team's top prospects. Kasten remembers there were people who thought Glavine didn't have an out pitch. Glavine ended up winning 305 games during his career with the Braves and Mets.
"I guess back then, people didn't think having one of the greatest changeups ever was going to be good enough," Kasten said. "He not only made a career of it, he made a Hall of Fame career out of it. He won two Cy Youngs. That is hard to do."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.