By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - With 527 combined big league wins, World Series champions Tom Glavine and Tim Hudson commanded the attention of their audience, especially the 35 members of Auburn's baseball team.
Teammates on the 2008 Atlanta Braves, Glavine, a Hall of Famer with 305 wins, and Hudson, an Auburn legend with 222, shared stories from their playing days Saturday at the Auburn Diamond Club's 17th preseason banquet at Auburn Arena.
"They talked about their career and their journey," Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. "It relates so well with our players. Their answers were really focused on helping you be a good ballplayer and how to navigate stuff that they went through in their career. The focus stayed on our players and I was most thankful about that."
Hudson, who led Auburn to the 1997 College World Series and won the 2014 World Series with San Francisco, told the Tigers he took the mound most of the time without his best stuff.
"Probably a third of your starts you're going to go out there with dynamite stuff, it's going to be a walk in the park," Hudson said. "A third of them you're going to go out there and it's going to be so-so, where you might figure it out by the third or fourth inning.
"And there's a third of your games where you walk in from the bullpen, you pass the bullpen guys and tell the long guy, 'Hey, you might want to start stretching your hamstrings. Get that heat pad on that shoulder,' because it might be a quick one.
"As a big league pitcher, you go out there and you have pride. I've got to make these hitters think that I'm at my best right now. You need to trick them and carry yourself like you're the baddest man on that baseball field."
For Glavine, the 1995 World Series MVP, Game Six of the Fall Classic, when he one-hit Cleveland for eight innings, was one of those "dynamite stuff" nights.
"I had a really good warmup that night," Glavine said. "It was one of those nights where, if I wanted to throw a ball [an inch] outside I did it. If I wanted to throw it that far inside, I did."
Glavine will be a familiar face at Plainsman Park this season. His son, Peyton, is a freshman pitcher. A left-hander, like his dad.
"I'm excited for him," Glavine said. "Auburn baseball, SEC baseball, good baseball, good competition, so we're excited about that. Certainly a big factor for him was having Butch here as the coach. He really likes Butch, and as parents, we couldn't think of a better place for him to be and certainly a better coach for him to be playing for, so it's a good fit.
"As a parent, you want your kid to go have the best possible experience. For him to be here in this environment, that certainly is a huge plus. Having all of those guys who have the experience that they have, and the reputation they have of working with the kids, it's a great place for him to be."
Auburn begins the season, Thompson's third, Friday at 5 p.m. CT against Longwood.
Hudson, whose '97 season (15-2, 2.97 ERA, .396 average, 18 HRs, 95 RBI) ranks as Auburn's finest, offered the last word to the 2018 team.
"Auburn will always be your family," he said. "The Auburn baseball program is always going to embrace you."
"A big deal for us to be a part of it."
MLB Hall of Famer & former @Braves teammate Tim Hudson: the special guests at @AuburnBaseball Diamond Club preseason banquet. @peyton_glav14 is a freshman pitcher. A lefty, like his dad. pic.twitter.com/5BnAkO7aay
-- Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) February 11, 2018
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer