You might know Stan Kasten as the president and part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but from 1986-2003, he was the president of the Atlanta Braves – and he was darn good at it. From 1987 to 2003, the Braves won more games than any other team in baseball, and Bobby Cox, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were a big reason why.
That trio was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.
“It was a great weekend,” the 62-year-old Kasten said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I was there in Cooperstown with all our guys. It was good to relive all that. I told people that even when we were in the middle of that run, we knew it was special. We knew it wasn’t ordinary. We knew you just don’t get pieces like this coming together, so it was good being with all those guys.”
“But my mind was never far from what’s going on now,” Kasten continued, referencing the Dodgers’ weekend series with the Giants. “To be part of this historic, thrilling rivalry is another unique experience. And so in Cooperstown, I was following every pitch. It was an exciting, great weekend.”
The Dodgers, by the way, swept the Giants, winning all three games in San Francisco by a combined 17-4.
But let’s get back to Atlanta.
From 1991 to 2005, the Braves won 14 straight division titles, five National League pennants and the World Series in 1995. While Maddux and Glavine – who combined for 660 wins, six Cy Young awards and 5,978 strikeouts – obviously played a pivotal role in that success, so too did John Smoltz, who will likely be inducted into the Hall of Fame next summer.
Of those three pitchers, who starts a Game 7?
“Well, I have an answer to that question because we had that happen once, and it went to Smoltz, who did pretty well in ’91,” Kasten said. “I guess you have to go with the best record and that would be Maddux, who found a way to win more often than not. But in the postseason, of those three guys, the guy with the best record is Smoltz, actually.”
In fact, Smoltz went 15-4 with a 2.67 ERA, while Maddux went 11-14 with a 3.27 ERA and Glavine went 14-16 with a 3.30 ERA.
“I don’t think you can go wrong,” Kasten said. “I think you’d be favored no matter who you threw out there. That’s why that era was so special. We felt before we started every night that we had an advantage.”
Speaking of which, the Dodgers have exactly that whenever Clayton Kershaw is on the bump. In his last 10 starts, Kershaw is 9-0 with a 0.93 ERA.
“Clayton has a combination of many of the qualities of all three of those guys,” Kasten said. “He has the raw stuff that a Smoltz had, but he has the intelligence of all three of those pitchers. He has the work ethic of all three of those pitchers. It really is a combination of many of the best aspects of all three of them. Now, they had longevity. Those guys went 10 years with hardly missing a start. Clayton’s working on that. But if he builds up the years, he’ll be right up there with them in time for sure.”