This was a year that began late, too, because of another strike, one in which Glavine played a prominent role as the team's player representative. For that he was booed when Opening Day finally arrived on April 26. "It hurt, sure," he said late Saturday night. "I hope now I've given them something else to associate me with."
Glavine allowed only one runner as far as second base. He dominated the Indians even when he was tired in the eighth inning. "I really got out of the inning without making a good pitch," he said. He could thank Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove, who allowed Thome (0 for 8, including four punch-outs against lefthanders) and weak-hitting Pena and Ruben Amaro to bat that inning while leaving two of his better hitters against lefties during the season, Sandy Alomar (.364) and Herbert Perry (.344), on the bench.
It was after the eighth inning that Glavine told Cox and Mazzone he was done. "Look up at that scoreboard," Mazzone said to Glavine. "You've got a one-hitter in the World Series. What if it was a no-hitter?" Said Glavine, "Whew. Tough call."
The last three outs belonged to Wohlers, whose ability to slam the door on a game plugged the last hole on the team. The very last out, the one he had dreamed about "since I was five years old," was too much for him to even watch. When Baerga lifted the baseball in the air toward left centerfield, Wohlers looked away, into the stands. When the crowd let loose a great cathartic roar, he knew the end had been secured in Marquis Grissom's glove. "I kind of blacked out," he said. "Then I saw Javy running at me, and I figured I'd better do something before he ran my butt over."
Almost two hours later Glavine kicked off his spikes and handed them over to a representative of the Hall of Fame for transport to Cooperstown. He thought out loud about the victors' spoils. "A putting green," he said. "[Atlanta president Stan Kasten] promised us a putting green in the new stadium if we won the World Series."
Next door, a new stadium is going up. It will serve as an Olympic venue for the Summer Games in Atlanta next year and, after some downsizing, as the Braves' new home in 1997. It rises like a monument to baseball's team of the 1990s, promising all the proper amenities. It will have luxury boxes, the finest grass field and, now, besides the putting green, a world championship banner. They say the lightbulbs will stay in place, too.