John Smoltz

John Andrew Smoltz (born May 15, 1967), nicknamed "Smoltzie"[1] and "Marmaduke,"[2] is an American former baseball pitcher who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1988 to 2009, all but the last year with the Atlanta Braves. An eight-time All-Star, Smoltz was part of a celebrated trio of starting pitchers, along with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who propelled Atlanta to perennial pennant contention in the 1990s, highlighted by a championship in the 1995 World Series. He won the National League (NL) Cy Young Award in 1996 after posting a record of 24–8, equaling the most victories by an NL pitcher since 1972. Though predominantly known as a starter, Smoltz was converted to a reliever in 2001 after his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and spent four years as the team's closer before returning to a starting role. In 2002, he set the NL record with 55 saves and became only the second pitcher in history (joining Dennis Eckersley) to record both a 20-win season and a 50-save season. He is the only pitcher in major league history to record both 200 wins and 150 saves.

Smoltz was one of the most prominent pitchers in playoff history, posting a record of 15–4 with a 2.67 earned run average (ERA) in 41 career postseason games, and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1992 NL Championship Series; Andy Pettitte later broke his record for career postseason wins. Smoltz led the NL in wins, winning percentage, strikeouts and innings pitched twice each, and his NL total of 3,084 strikeouts ranked fifth in league history when he retired. He also holds the Braves franchise record for career strikeouts (3,011), and the record for the most career games pitched for the Braves (708) since the club's move to Atlanta in 1966; from 2004 to 2014, he held the franchise record for career saves. Smoltz left the Braves after 2008 and split his final season with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. Since retiring as a player, he has served as a color commentator and analyst on television. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015, his first year of eligibility.

John Smoltz
John Smoltz with Colonel Air Force (cropped)
Smoltz with the Braves in 2007
Pitcher
Born: May 15, 1967 (age 52)
Warren, Michigan
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 23, 1988, for the Atlanta Braves
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 2009, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Win–loss record213–155
Earned run average3.33
Strikeouts3,084
Saves154
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction2015
Vote82.9% (first ballot)

Minor leagues and trade to Atlanta

John Smoltz was an All-State baseball and football player at Waverly High School in Lansing, Michigan, before the Detroit Tigers selected him in the 22nd round of the 1985 amateur draft.[3] He was the 574th selection of the draft.[4]

Smoltz played initially for the Class A Lakeland Tigers minor-league team, and then moved on to the Class AA Glens Falls Tigers in 1987, posting records of 7–8 and 4–10.[5] On August 12, 1987, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves, where he played on their Class AAA Richmond Braves. The 1987 Tigers were in a three-team race, chasing the Toronto Blue Jays for the AL East division lead; in need of pitching help, Detroit sent their 20-year-old prospect to the Braves for 36-year-old veteran Doyle Alexander. While Alexander did help the Tigers overtake the Blue Jays for the division title, he was out of baseball by 1989. Smoltz, on the other hand, became one of the cornerstones of the Braves franchise for the next two decades.

Major leagues

Early years (1988–1997)

Smoltz made his major league debut on July 23, 1988. He posted poor statistics in a dozen starts, but in 1989 Smoltz blossomed. In 29 starts, he recorded a 12–11 record and 2.94 ERA while pitching 208 innings, and was named to the NL All-Star team. Teammate Tom Glavine also had his first good year in 1989, raising optimism about the future of Atlanta's pitching staff.

Over his career, Smoltz threw a four-seam fastball that was clocked as high as 98 miles per hour, a strong, effective slider and an 88–91 mph split-finger fastball that he used as a strikeout pitch. He also used a curveball and change-up on occasion, and in 1999, he began experimenting with both a knuckleball and a screwball, though he rarely used either in game situations.[6] He admitted in 2016 that he neither learned to throw sliders until he reached the MLB, nor does he recommend children to throw sliders.[7]

Smoltz began the 1991 season with a 2–11 record. He began seeing a sports psychologist, after which he closed out the season on a 12–2 pace,[8] helping the Braves win a tight NL West race. His winning ways continued into the 1991 National League Championship Series. Smoltz won both his starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates, capped by a complete game shutout in the seventh game, propelling the Braves to their first World Series since moving to Atlanta in 1966. Smoltz had two no-decisions against the Minnesota Twins, with a 1.26 ERA. In the seventh and deciding game, he faced his former Detroit Tiger hero, Jack Morris. Both starters pitched shutout ball for seven innings, before Smoltz was removed from the 0–0 game during a Twins threat in the eighth. Atlanta reliever Mike Stanton pitched out of the jam, getting Smoltz off the hook, and Morris eventually pitched a 10-inning complete game victory.

The next year, Smoltz won 15 regular season games and was the MVP of the 1992 National League Championship Series, winning two games. He left the seventh game trailing, but ended up with a no-decision as the Braves mounted a dramatic ninth-inning comeback win. In the World Series that year, Smoltz started two of the six games in the series, with a no-decision in Game 2 and a win with the Braves facing elimination in Game 5.

Before the 1993 season, the Braves signed renowned control pitcher Greg Maddux, completing – along with Smoltz and Glavine – what many consider to be the most accomplished starting trio ever assembled on a single major-league team. Smoltz again won 15 games, but suffered his first postseason loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS despite not allowing an earned run.

Smoltz had a 6–10 record in the strike-shortened 1994 season, and during the break, had bone chips removed from his elbow.[9] Returning as the Braves' No. 3 starter, he posted a 12–7 record in 1995. Smoltz had shaky postseason numbers, avoiding a decision despite a 6.60 ERA. But Smoltz and the Braves won the franchise's only World Series in Atlanta, thanks in great part to Maddux and Glavine, who had begun to overshadow Smoltz.

The next season, 1996, was the best of Smoltz's career. He went 24–8 with a 2.94 ERA and 276 strikeouts, including winning a franchise-record 14 straight decisions from April 9 to June 19.[9] He won the NL Cy Young Award with 26 of the 28 first-place votes. Smoltz's effectiveness in 1997 was only slightly less than his Cy Young season, but frugal run support limited him to a 15–12 record. Smoltz also received a Silver Slugger Award for his batting.

Injuries and move to the bullpen (1998–2004)

Smoltz continued to post excellent statistics in 1998 and 1999, but he was spending significant time on the disabled list and missed about a quarter of his starts. In 1999, Smoltz began experimenting with both a knuckleball and a three-quarters delivery, though he rarely used either in game situations.[10]

He underwent Tommy John surgery before the 2000 season, and missed the entire year.[11] When he was unable to perform effectively as a starter in 2001, Smoltz made a transition to the bullpen, filling a void as Atlanta's new closer down the stretch, replacing John Rocker.

In 2002, his first full season as a closer, Smoltz set a National League record with 55 saves, topping the previous mark of 53 shared by Randy Myers (1993) and Trevor Hoffman (1998). Smoltz finished third in the Cy Young Award voting; Éric Gagné equaled his record a year later with the Dodgers. Injuries limited Smoltz slightly in 2003, but he still recorded 45 saves with a 1.12 ERA in 64⅓ innings pitched. In 2004, Smoltz finished with 44 saves, but was frustrated with his inability to make an impact as a closer during another Braves' postseason loss. That year, he broke Gene Garber's franchise record of 141 career saves; his final total of 154 saves was eventually surpassed by Craig Kimbrel in 2014.

By this point, Smoltz was all that remained of the once-dominant Atlanta Braves' rotation of the 1990s. Tom Glavine had moved on to play for the Mets, a divisional rival, while Greg Maddux returned to his old team, the Chicago Cubs.

Return to the rotation (2005–2008)

After three years as one of baseball's most dominating closers, the team's management agreed to return Smoltz to the starting rotation before the 2005 season. His renewed career as a starter began inauspiciously. He allowed six earned runs in only 1​23 innings—matching the shortest starts of his career—as the Braves were blown out on Opening Day by the Marlins. Poor run support contributed to an 0–3 start despite stronger pitching performances by Smoltz. After these initial difficulties, though, things fell into place. At the All-Star break, Smoltz was 9–5 with an ERA of 2.68 and was chosen for the 2005 NL All-Star team. Smoltz gave up a solo home run to Miguel Tejada in the second inning of the American League's 7–5 victory and was charged with the loss. For his career, he was 1–2 in All-Star games, putting him in a tie for the most losses.

Smoltz finished 2005 at 14–7, with a 3.06 ERA and 169 strikeouts while allowing less than one hit per inning. Smoltz had answered the critics who doubted he would be able to reach the 200-inning plateau after three years in the bullpen. Nonetheless, Smoltz's increased workload caused him to wear down toward the end of the season.

Despite a sore shoulder, Smoltz pitched seven innings in the Braves' 7–1 win over the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the 2005 NL Division Series; it was the only game the Braves won in the series against the eventual National League champions. The victory over Houston gave Smoltz a 13–4 record as a starter (15–4 overall) with a 2.65 ERA in the postseason. He has the second most postseason wins (15) behind only Andy Pettitte with 19. They are followed by Glavine (14) and Maddux (11).

In 2006, Smoltz finished the season with a record of 16–9, an ERA of 3.49, and 211 strikeouts. He was one of four pitchers tied for the NL lead in wins, and was third in strikeouts. The fact that the Braves bullpen blew six of Smoltz's leads in 2006 robbed him of a strong chance at a 20-win season.

JohnSmoltz
Smoltz in 2007

On September 21, 2006, the Braves announced they had picked up Smoltz's $8 million contract option for the 2007 season. On April 26, 2007, Smoltz agreed to a contract extension with the Braves. The extension includes a $14 million salary for the 2008 season, a $12 million vesting option for 2009 dependent on his ability to pitch 200 innings in 2008 and a $12 or $13 million team option for 2010 dependent on his ability to pitch 200 innings in 2009.[12]

2007 was a year of reunions and milestones for Smoltz. On May 9, he faced Maddux for the first time since July 10, 1992. Smoltz earned a win in a 3–2 victory over the San Diego Padres; Maddux received no decision. On May 24, exactly 11 years to the day after recording his 100th win, Smoltz recorded his 200th win against Glavine.[13] He faced Glavine three other times, faring 3–1 overall against him. On June 27, Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux each recorded wins on the same day. On August 19, Smoltz set the Braves strikeout record by striking out the Arizona Diamondbacks' Mark Reynolds. It was his 2,913th strikeout, passing Phil Niekro on the club' all-time list; he struck out a season-high 12 in the game.[14] He finished the year 14–8 with a 3.11 ERA and 197 strikeouts. The stalwart pitcher was the only holdover on the Braves roster from their 1991 worst-to-first season until Glavine returned to the Braves after an absence of several years following the 2007 season.

On April 22, 2008, Smoltz became the 16th pitcher in major-league history to reach 3,000 career strikeouts, and the fourth pitcher to strike out 3,000 batters for one team, joining Walter Johnson, Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton.

On April 28, 2008, Smoltz was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to an inflamed right shoulder.[15]

Return to relief (2008)

On May 1, 2008, Smoltz indicated that he intended to return to being a relief pitcher. After coming off the disabled list on June 2, 2008, he blew his first save opportunity in three years. Two days later, the Braves placed him back on the disabled list. Smoltz underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on June 10, 2008.[16] His contract expired at the end of the season, and the contract offer from the Braves was not sufficient to keep him.[17]

Boston Red Sox (2009)

John Smoltz 2009
Smoltz with the Boston Red Sox

In December 2008, several members of the Boston Red Sox organization, including pitching coach John Farrell, vice president of player personnel Ben Cherington and assistant trainer Mike Reinold, flew to Atlanta to participate in a 90-minute workout with Smoltz. Throwing for only the second time since having surgery on a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder, he threw a 50-pitch side session and showcased not only his tremendous progress since the surgery, but an arsenal of well-developed pitches which made him so successful throughout his career. He impressed the Red Sox enough during the workout that less than a month later, a one-year contract was offered by the organization.[18]

On January 13, 2009, Smoltz signed a one-year contract with the Red Sox for a reported base salary of $5.5 million with roster time incentives and miscellaneous award incentives which could net as much as $10 million.[19] He made his first start in the Red Sox rotation on June 25, allowing seven hits and five runs through five innings.[20][21] Smoltz posted a 2–5 record over eight games with an 8.32 ERA and no quality starts. He was designated for assignment on August 7 after a 13–6 loss to the New York Yankees, giving the Red Sox ten days to release or trade him, or send him to the minors.[22] The Red Sox offered Smoltz a minor league stint in order to prepare him to be placed in the bullpen, but he rejected the offer.[23] On August 17, the Red Sox released Smoltz.[24]

St. Louis Cardinals (2009)

On August 19, 2009, Smoltz signed with the St. Louis Cardinals; he made his debut against the Padres on August 23. In his first game for the Cardinals, he went five innings, striking out nine and walking none, while setting a Cardinals franchise record by striking out seven batters in a row.[25]

That win against the Padres with the Cardinals was his only win with St. Louis that season. Smoltz finished 1–3 with an ERA of 4.26 with the Cardinals. He was 3–8 with an ERA of 6.35 overall with the Red Sox and Cardinals. In Game 3 of the 2009 NL Division Series, Smoltz pitched two innings of relief in a losing cause, allowing four hits and an earned run while striking out five.[26]

Number retired

BravesRetired29
John Smoltz's number 29 was retired by the Atlanta Braves in 2012.

On April 16, 2012, the Braves announced that they would retire Smoltz's number 29.[27] The ceremony, which took place before the June 8 game against the Toronto Blue Jays, included speeches by former broadcaster Pete van Wieren, former teammate Matt Diaz and former manager Bobby Cox.[28]

After retirement

In 2008 and 2010, Smoltz served as a color analyst alongside Joe Simpson for Braves games on Peachtree TV. Nationally, Smoltz has been an analyst for MLB Network and called regular-season and postseason games for TBS.[29] In 2014, he was hired by Fox Sports as a game analyst. He was paired with Matt Vasgersian and called games in the No. 2 booth.[30] He has also joined Fox Sports South and SportSouth to be an analyst for select Braves games during the 2014 season.[31] Smoltz replaced Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci, his colleagues from MLB Network, as the lead analyst for Major League Baseball on Fox for the 2016 season, teaming up with Joe Buck.[32]

Smoltz was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2015.[33] He was the first starting pitcher since 1987 to be elected despite having fewer than 250 wins and only one Cy Young Award, and the first such starter ever elected on the first ballot.

Personal life

John Smoltz STL
Smoltz with the Cardinals on September 3, 2009

Smoltz met his first wife Dyan Struble at the Omni Hotel in downtown Atlanta; the couple had four children before divorcing in 2007 after 16 years of marriage.[34] Smoltz lives in Alpharetta, Georgia and also has a home at Sea Island, a golf resort. On May 16, 2009, Smoltz married Kathryn Darden at his home with 70 friends and family in attendance.[35] Smoltz is a Christian.[36]

Smoltz is a good friend of pro golfer Tiger Woods, the two often play golf together.[37] Woods has stated that Smoltz is the best golfer outside of the PGA Tour that he has seen.[38] Smoltz has stated that he once had a plus 4 handicap.[39] In 2018, Smoltz qualified for the U.S. Senior Open, one of senior golf's major championships.[40] He is also involved in the sport of bowling.[41]

Smoltz plays every year in the American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe. He won the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Orlando in January, 2019.

Smoltz counts Doc Rivers as a personal friend dating back to Rivers' playing days in Atlanta. In the January 12, 2008 edition of the Boston Globe, Rivers is quoted as saying, "I offered him my apartment... I just told him about Terry and the Red Sox organization. I told him it's a no-brainer."

Smoltz is also an accomplished accordionist and has starred in a television commercial for The Home Depot.

Smoltz is a distant cousin of baseball Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer.[42]

Politics

Smoltz produced an automated campaign phone recording on behalf of the candidacy of Ralph E. Reed, Jr. for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia during the 2006 primary.[43]

In a 2004 interview, Smoltz was quoted as comparing the legalization of gay marriage with bestiality, saying "What’s next? Marrying an animal?" per the Associated Press. Smoltz later stated the article had portrayed his quote inaccurately. [44]

It was speculated that Smoltz might run for Congress in 2010 as a Republican candidate to fill the departing John Linder's seat in Georgia's 7th congressional district.[45]

On April 22, 2012, Smoltz hosted a fundraiser for Andrea Cascarilla, a Democratic candidate for State Representative in Michigan's 71st House District.[46] The 71st District encompasses Waverly Senior High School, where Smoltz was an All-State baseball and basketball player.

Philanthropy

Smoltz and his good friend Jeff Foxworthy teamed up for the charity event "An Evening With Smoltz and Friends" on November 9, 2008 at the Verizon Amphitheater in Alpharetta to raise money for the John Smoltz Foundation, which has supported numerous charitable endeavors in the Atlanta area over the past decade. [47]

Smoltz is the Atlanta host for Big League Impact, an eight-city fantasy football network created and led by longtime Cardinals pitcher and former teammate Adam Wainwright. In 2015, the organization raised more than $1 million for various charitable organizations.[48]

Accomplishments

John Smoltz 3000 strikeouts
Fans at Turner Field stand and applaud after Smoltz's 3000th career strikeout on April 22, 2008.
  • Elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame with 82.9% of the vote (January 2015)
  • Eight-time All-Star (1989, 1992–93, 1996, 2002–03, 2005, 2007)
  • National League Championship Series MVP (1992)
  • Led the National League in Strikeouts (1992, with 215)
  • National League Cy Young Award winner (1996)
  • Atlanta Braves record for most wins in a season (1996, with 24)
  • Led National League in wins (1996, with 24)
  • Counting his wins in the playoffs and All-Star Game, amassed 29 wins in 1996; the only higher total in the last 70 years is Denny McLain, who had 32 in 1968.
  • Holds Atlanta Braves record for most strikeouts in a season (1996, with 276)
  • Led major leagues in strikeouts (1996, with 276)
  • Led National League in winning percentage (1996)
  • Silver Slugger Award winner for pitcher (1997)
  • Finished 4th in National League Cy Young Award voting (1998)
  • Led major leagues in winning percentage (1998)
  • National League Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award winner (2002)
  • Finished 8th in National League MVP voting (2002)
  • Finished 3rd in National League Cy Young Award voting (2002)
  • Second in Braves history for saves in a career (154)
  • Braves record for most saves in a season (2002, with 55)
  • Led National League in saves (2002, with 55)
  • Tied for National League lead in wins (2006, with 16)
  • Only pitcher to compile 200 wins and 150 saves
  • Holds Braves record for most strikeouts in a career (3,011)
  • Given the Branch Rickey Award for exceptional community service (2007)[49]
  • First pitcher in modern era (since 1900) to pitch exactly five shutout innings, strike out ten, and get the win (April 17, 2008 in the Braves' 8–0 win at Florida)[50]
  • 16th pitcher in the major leagues to reach 3,000 strikeouts (April 22, 2008)
  • Holds Cardinals record for most consecutive strikeouts (7) in a single game (August 23, 2009)
  • Only major league pitcher with more than one postseason stolen base (3)
  • Awarded Roberto Clemente Award (2005)

See also

References

  1. ^ John Smoltz Statistics and History | Baseball-Reference.com
  2. ^ "John Smoltz inspires Milton youth baseball team". northfulton.com. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
  3. ^ Porter, David L. 2000. "John Smoltz" in The Biographical Dictionary of American Sports, 1440–1441. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group
  4. ^ "1985 MLB Draft History – Round 22". Mymlbdraft.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  5. ^ Porter, David L. 2000. "John Smoltz" in The Biographical Dictionary of American Sports, 1440–1441. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group.
  6. ^ Neyer, Rob and Bill James, The Neyer-James Guide to Pitchers. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004. ISBN 0-7432-6158-5
  7. ^ MLB Network (June 23, 2016), John Smoltz On The Destruction Of A Slider On A Pitcher, retrieved June 12, 2019
  8. ^ Does sports psychology really work? Archived December 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine by Daniel Engber – Slate Magazine
  9. ^ a b Whiteside, Larry (October 1996). "Braves' John Smoltz Makes A Pitch for Cy Young Award". Baseball Digest. Vol. 55 no. 10. United States: Lakeside Publishing Co. pp. 22–25. ISSN 0005-609X. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  10. ^ Neyer, Rob and Bill James, The Neyer-James Guide to Pichers. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004. ISBN 0-7432-6158-5
  11. ^ Kuenster, John (July 2000). "Without John Smoltz, Braves May Be Pressed To Set New Winning Record". Baseball Digest. Vol. 59 no. 7. United States: Lakeside Publishing Co. p. 17. ISSN 0005-609X. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  12. ^ Bowman, Mark (April 26, 2007). "Braves give Smoltz an extension: Veteran almost certain to finish legendary career in Atlanta". MLB.com.
  13. ^ Bowman, Mark (May 24, 2007). "The Official Site of The Atlanta Braves: News: Game Wrapup". Atlanta.braves.mlb.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  14. ^ Jeff Lutz (August 19, 2007). "The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Major League Baseball News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  15. ^ The Associated Press (April 30, 2008). "Smoltz Put on Disabled List With Sore Right Shoulder". New York Times.
  16. ^ "Smoltz has surgery, future as pitcher uncertain", Sports Illustrated, June 10, 2008
  17. ^ Braves' decision on Smoltz is upsetting
  18. ^ Bradford, Rob "How John Smoltz Convinced The Red Sox He Was Worth A Chance" Archived January 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved from WEEI.com on January 28, 2009.
  19. ^ "Red Sox sign free agent righthanded pitcher John Smoltz to one-year contract". Boston Red Sox. MLB. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  20. ^ Ian Browne. "Smoltz signs offer sheet from Red Sox". Boston Red Sox. MLB. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  21. ^ "Smoltz to Red Sox; Baldelli, Penny will join him". Sports.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on June 17, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  22. ^ "Smoltz designated for assignment". Boston.com. August 7, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  23. ^ "Smoltz won't go to Boston bullpen, time with Sox likely done". Soxblog.projo.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  24. ^ Jon Paul Morosi (August 17, 2009). "Red Sox officially release former Cy Young winner". Fox Sports. Archived from the original on August 19, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2009.
  25. ^ "St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres – Recap – August 23, 2009 – ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. August 23, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  26. ^ "2009 NLDS Game 3". ESPN. ESPN.
  27. ^ Bowman, Mark (April 16, 2012). "Braves to honor Smoltz by retiring No. 29". MLB.com. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  28. ^ Rogers, Carroll (June 8, 2012). "Smoltz calls No. 29 retirement coolest moment of his life". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on June 10, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  29. ^ John Smoltz joins TBS as an analyst. Associated Press. March 16, 2010.
  30. ^ Best, Neil (March 10, 2014). "John Smoltz joins Fox's MLB roster". Newsday. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  31. ^ FOX Sports South, SportSouth announce 2014 Atlanta Braves telecast team | FOX Sports
  32. ^ Schilken, Chuck (December 22, 2015). "John Smoltz to replace Tom Verducci and Harold Reynolds during Fox's baseball coverage". LA Times. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  33. ^ "John Smoltz: A Hall Of Fame Tribute". ESPN. ESPN.
  34. ^ Bowman, Mark (February 9, 2007). "Smoltz, wife to end 16-year marriage". MLB.com.
  35. ^ http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/braves/stories/2009/05/19/john_smoltz_marriage.html
  36. ^ "John Smoltz: Starting and Closing". The 700 Club.
  37. ^ Official Website for Tiger Woods Archived November 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ Tiger Woods Joins Mike and Mike > 950 ESPN > Audio Archived January 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Relevant audio at 8:15
  39. ^ Berra, Lindsay (May 10, 2015). "Off the diamond, onto the fairway". Sports on Earth.
  40. ^ Myers, Alex (June 1, 2018). "John Smoltz (Yes, THAT John Smoltz) qualifies for U.S. Senior Open". Golf Digest.
  41. ^ [1]
  42. ^ "Hall of Famer John Smoltz indulges inner fandom to name Tigers Franchise Four". MLB.com.
  43. ^ Not sad to see end of primary
  44. ^ [2]
  45. ^ "John Smoltz For Congress?". Yardbarker.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2010. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  46. ^ https://www.facebook.com/events/280892101995592/
  47. ^ Bowman, Mark (October 14, 2008). "Smoltz, Foxworthy team up for charity". Mlb.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  48. ^ Iyer, Vinnie (August 5, 2016). "Adam Wainwright is a true ace — when it comes to fantasy football". Sporting News. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  49. ^ "ESPN – Smoltz wins Branch Rickey Award – MLB". Sports.espn.go.com. September 25, 2007. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  50. ^ SluggerWV (April 18, 2008). "Slugger's Tales from the Rails: Big night for Chipper, Smoltz, and the Braves". Sluggerwv.blogspot.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.

External links

Preceded by
Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci
Lead color commentator, Major League Baseball on Fox
2016-present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
1992 Atlanta Braves season

The 1992 Atlanta Braves season was the 27th in Atlanta and the 122nd overall. It involved the Braves finishing first in the National League West with a record of 98 wins and 64 losses, clinching their second straight division title.

In the National League Championship Series, the Braves defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games. In the World Series, Atlanta faced the Toronto Blue Jays, who were making their first appearance in the World Series. However, the Blue Jays won in six games, becoming the first non-U.S.-based team to win a World Series.

1996 Atlanta Braves season

The 1996 Atlanta Braves season was the 126th season in the history of the franchise and 31st season in the city of Atlanta. They secured a regular season record of 96-66 and reached the World Series, where it lost to the New York Yankees in six games, failing to defend its championship in 1995. Despite taking a 2-0 lead the Braves unexpectedly lost the next 4 games. This World Series appearance was their fourth appearance in the last 5 years as a franchise. Atlanta won its seventh division title (second in the National League East, the other five in the NL West) and its fifth in six years. In the previous round, Atlanta completed a miraculous comeback. After trailing in the NLCS to St. Louis three games to one, Atlanta outscored St. Louis 32-1 in games five through seven to complete the comeback. The collapse was remembered as one of the largest in North American sports history.

1996 National League Championship Series

The 1996 National League Championship Series (NLCS) matched the East Division champion Atlanta Braves and the Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals. It was the second NLCS meeting of the two teams and first since 1982. The Braves won in seven games, becoming the eighth team in baseball history to win a best-of-seven postseason series after being down 3–1, and first to overcome such a deficit in the NLCS. They outscored the Cardinals, 32–1, over the final three games. Also, Bobby Cox became the only manager to be on both the winning and losing end of such a comeback in postseason history, having previously blown the 1985 American League Championship Series with the Toronto Blue Jays against the Kansas City Royals.

The Braves would go on to lose to the New York Yankees in the World Series in six games.

1998 Atlanta Braves season

The 1998 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 33rd season in Atlanta and 128th overall. They went on to win their seventh consecutive division title, taking the National League East title by 18 games over the second place New York Mets.

The team featured six all stars: shortstop Walt Weiss and third baseman Chipper Jones were voted as starters, while first baseman Andrés Galarraga, catcher Javy López, and pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were selected as reserves. Jones and Lopez each hit over 30 home runs as Galaragga (acquired from Colorado) led the club in home runs and RBI. Galaragga finished as an MVP candidate.

The 1998 Braves beat the Chicago Cubs three games to none in the National League Division Series. In the next round Atlanta then lost to the San Diego Padres in the National League Championship Series four games to two. Despite winning two games after losing the first three, Atlanta's comeback bid came short by being eliminated in game 6. San Diego's winning over Atlanta was seen as one of the biggest upsets in postseason history.

This team has earned a few historic accolades. ESPN writer David Schoenfield lists them as one of the top teams in MLB history to not win a World SeriesESPN columnist Jeff Merron also writes that the pitching staff of Maddux, Glavine, John Smoltz, Denny Neagle, and Kevin Millwood was the greatest of all time. The quintet posted a cumulative 2.97 ERA and amassed 88 wins (almost 18 wins per starter), equaling the win total of the 2nd place Mets. The 1998 Braves are the only team in MLB history to have five pitchers each strike out 150 batters in the same season. Glavine, the lone 20 game winner in the National League for that year, won the Cy Young Award.

1998 National League Championship Series

The 1998 National League Championship Series (NLCS), to determine the champion of Major League Baseball's National League, was played from October 7 to 14 between the East Division champion Atlanta Braves and the West Division champion San Diego Padres.

The Braves entered the playoffs for the seventh straight season with a franchise-record 106 regular season wins, an offense that hit 215 home runs, and a pitching staff made up of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Denny Neagle, and Kevin Millwood to the playoffs. However, they also carried the baggage of their embarrassing NLCS loss to the Florida Marlins the previous season. In the NLDS, the Braves swept Sammy Sosa and the Chicago Cubs.

After a 76–86 season in 1997, San Diego stormed out and took control of their division, finishing with a 98–64 record, their best in team history. The offense was led by the 50 home run club's newest member, Greg Vaughn, and by Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. The San Diego rotation was anchored by eighteen-game winner Kevin Brown, who helped Florida defeat Atlanta in the 1997 NLCS, along with All-Star Andy Ashby and the series MVP Sterling Hitchcock. Closer Trevor Hoffman saved an astounding 53 games in the regular season. The Padres defeated the favored Houston Astros in four games in the NLDS.

It was the seventh-consecutive NLCS appearance for the Braves and they would be heavily favored against the Padres.

The Padres would go on to the lose in a sweep to the New York Yankees in the World Series in four games.

2002 Atlanta Braves season

The 2002 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 37th season in Atlanta and 132nd overall. The Braves won their 11th consecutive division title, finishing 19 games ahead of the second-place Montreal Expos. The Braves lost the 2002 Divisional Series to the eventual NL Champion San Francisco Giants, 3 games to 2.

2002 marked the final year that pitchers Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz played on the same team ending the reign of what has been considered by many the greatest pitching trio of all-time. All three would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame a decade later. Smoltz set the Braves' single season record for saves (55). Chipper Jones moved to the outfield in left field to allow for Vinny Castilla to be signed and added to the lineup at third base. Julio Franco became a regular player in the second stint of his Major League career and Gary Sheffield was acquired to the Braves in 2002, playing at right field.

3,000 strikeout club

In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 3,000 strikeout club is the group of pitchers who have struck out 3,000 or more batters in their careers. Walter Johnson was the first to reach 3,000, doing so in 1923, and was the only pitcher at this milestone for 50 years until Bob Gibson recorded his 3,000th strikeout in 1974. In total, 17 pitchers have reached 3,000 strikeouts, with CC Sabathia, the most recent club member, joining on April 30, 2019. Sabathia joins Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson as the only left-handed pitchers in this group. Randy was the quickest pitcher to 3,000 strikeouts, taking fewer games pitched or innings pitched than any other pitcher. César Gerónimo is the only player struck out by two different pitchers for their 3,000th strikeout, first by Gibson in 1974 and then Nolan Ryan in 1980. The Minnesota Twins were the first of three franchises to see multiple pitchers record their 3,000th strikeout on their roster, first Walter Johnson (while the franchise was called the Washington Senators) in 1923 and then Bert Blyleven in 1986. The Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees are the others with Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddux for the Cubs, and Phil Niekro and Sabathia for the Yankees. Ten 3,000 strikeout pitchers are also members of the 300 win club. Seven pitchers from this club were named amongst the one hundred greatest players in MLB history as part of the All-Century Team, four of whom were eventually voted as starters for the team by fan vote.Membership in the 3,000 strikeout club is often described as a guarantee of eventual entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martínez, and John Smoltz are the most recently elected individuals, all voted in during 2015 balloting. Of the sixteen eligible members of the 3,000 strikeout club, fourteen have been elected to the Hall. The two who have appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot but have not yet been elected, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, both made their first appearances on the ballot for the 2013 elections. Each received only about half of the total votes needed for induction, with Schilling earning slightly more votes than Clemens. Clemens' future election is seen as uncertain because of his alleged links to use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). The current and near-future eligibility of many players linked to PED use, combined with voting restrictions in Hall of Fame balloting, has been cited as the source of a "backlog" in future Hall elections. Eligibility requires that a player has "been retired five seasons" or deceased for at least 6 months.

Atlanta Braves award winners and league leaders

This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Atlanta Braves professional baseball franchise, including its years in Boston (1871–1952) and Milwaukee (1953–1965).

Big Three (Atlanta Braves)

The Big Three was a trio of Major League Baseball starting pitchers for the Atlanta Braves from 1993-2002 which consisted of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz. The Big Three combined to win six National League Cy Young Awards in the 1990s and helped lead the Atlanta Braves to a 1995 World Series win. Each member of the Big Three has had their jersey retired by the Atlanta Braves and has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Kevin Millwood

Kevin Austin Millwood (born December 24, 1974) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played for the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners.

While with the Braves, Millwood was part of a pitching rotation which featured Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. In 1999 he was selected to his only All-Star Game and helped the Braves to the 1999 World Series and two seasons later the 2001 National League Championship Series. As a member of the Indians, his 2.86 ERA lead all American League pitchers. In 2012, Millwood became the 67th pitcher to record 2,000 career strikeouts.

League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award

The League Championship Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given in each of the two annual League Championship Series, for the American and National Leagues, to the player deemed to have the most impact on his team's performance. The award has been presented in the National League since 1977, and in the American League since 1980. Dusty Baker won the inaugural award in 1977 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Frank White won the first American League award in 1980 with the Kansas City Royals. The eight Hall of Famers to win LCS MVPs include Roberto Alomar, George Brett, Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, Kirby Puckett, Ozzie Smith, Willie Stargell, and John Smoltz.

Three players have won the award twice: Steve Garvey (1978, 1984), Dave Stewart (1990, 1993), and Orel Hershiser (1988, 1995). Incidentally, all three of these players won their two awards with two different teams. Seven players have gone on to win the World Series MVP Award in the same season in which they won the LCS MVP—all of them in the National League. Three players have won while playing for the losing team in the series: Fred Lynn played for the 1982 California Angels; Mike Scott pitched for the 1986 Houston Astros; and Jeffrey Leonard played for the 1987 San Francisco Giants. Two players have shared the award in the same year three times, all in the National League; Rob Dibble and Randy Myers for the 1990 Cincinnati Reds, the Chicago Cubs' Jon Lester and Javier Báez in 2016, and Chris Taylor and Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017.

Garvey, Leonard, and Albert Pujols hit four home runs in their winning series—Garvey in his first win. Adam Kennedy won the 2002 ALCS MVP for hitting 3 home runs in 5 games; he had hit 7 during the regular season and hit 80 in his 14-year career. David Ortiz had 11 runs batted in (RBI) during the 2004 ALCS and Iván Rodríguez had 10 during the 2003 NLCS—the only two players to reach double-digit RBI in the series in the history of the award. From the pitcher's mound, Steve Avery threw 16​1⁄3 innings without giving up a run in the 1991 NLCS, and John Smoltz amassed 19 strikeouts the following year. Liván Hernández won the 1997 NLCS MVP after winning his only start and earning a win out of the bullpen in relief; he struck out 16 in 10​2⁄3 innings. Daniel Murphy won the 2015 NLCS MVP after hitting home runs in six consecutive games, setting a major league record.Liván Hernández (1997, NL) and his half-brother Orlando Hernández (1999, AL) are the only family pair to have won the award. The only rookies to have won the award are Mike Boddicker (1983, AL), Liván Hernández, and Michael Wacha (2013, NL).

List of American League Division Series broadcasters

The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers who have covered the American League Division Series throughout the years. It does include any announcers who may have appeared on local radio broadcasts produced by the participating teams.

List of Atlanta Braves Opening Day starting pitchers

The Atlanta Braves are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Atlanta. They play in the National League East division. They were based in Milwaukee and Boston before moving to Atlanta for the 1966 season. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day. The Atlanta Braves have used 19 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 47 seasons in Atlanta. The 19 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 14 wins, 20 losses and 13 no decisions. No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game.Hall of Famer Phil Niekro holds the Atlanta Braves' record for most Opening Day starts, with eight. He has a record in Opening Day starts for the Braves of no wins and six losses with two no decisions. Greg Maddux had seven Opening Day starts for the team and Rick Mahler had five. Tom Glavine and John Smoltz have each made four Opening Day starts for the Braves. Maddux has the record for most wins in Atlanta Braves Opening Day starts, with five. Mahler has the highest winning percentage in Opening Day starts (1.000), with four wins and no losses with one no decision. All of Mahler's four victories were shutouts, including three in consecutive years (1985 to 1987) by identical scores of 6–0. Niekro has the record for most losses in Atlanta Braves Opening Day starts, with six.From 1972 through 1980, the Braves lost nine consecutive Opening Day games. In those games, their starting pitchers had a record of no wins, six losses and three no decisions. Niekro had five of the losses during this streak, and Carl Morton had the other. Morton, Gary Gentry and Andy Messersmith had no decisions during the streak. One of the most famous Opening Day games in baseball history occurred during this stretch. That was the game on April 4, 1974, against the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium, when Hank Aaron hit his 714th career home run to tie Babe Ruth's all-time record. Carl Morton was Atlanta's starting pitcher for that game, and received a no decision.Overall, Atlanta Braves Opening Day starting pitchers have a record of 4–5 with four no decisions at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, their original home ball park in Atlanta and a 3–3 record with three no decisions at their second home park in Atlanta, Turner Field. The Braves have yet to open a season at their current home of SunTrust Park, which opened for the 2017 season; the first regular-season game at SunTrust Park was the Braves' ninth of the 2017 season. This gives the Atlanta Braves' Opening Day starting pitchers a combined home record 7–8 with five no decisions. Their away record is 7–12 with eight no decisions. The Braves went on to play in the World Series in 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 1999, and won the 1995 World Series championship games. John Smoltz was the Opening Day starting pitcher in 1991, Tom Glavine in 1992 and 1999, and Greg Maddux in 1995 and 1996. They had a combined Opening Day record of 3–2 in years that the Atlanta Braves played in the World Series.

List of Atlanta Braves team records

The Atlanta Braves are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Atlanta. The Braves formed in 1876 as the Boston Red Stockings. After moving to Milwaukee for 12 years, the Braves relocated to Atlanta in 1966. Through 2010, the Braves have played 20,053 games, winning 9,945, losing 9,954, and tying 154, for a winning percentage of approximately .500. This list documents the superlative records and accomplishments of team members during their tenures in MLB.

Hank Aaron holds the most franchise records as of the end of the 2010 season, with ten, including most career hits, doubles, and the best career on-base plus slugging percentage. Aaron also held the career home runs record from April 8, 1974 until August 8, 2007. He is followed by Hugh Duffy, who holds eight records, including best single-season batting average and the best single-season slugging percentage record.Four Braves players currently hold Major League Baseball records. Duffy holds the best single-season batting average record, accumulating an average of .440 in 1890. Bob Horner and Bobby Lowe are tied with 13 others for the most home runs in a game, with four, which they recorded on May 30, 1890, and July 6, 1986, respectively. Red Barrett, a Brave for six years, holds the record for fewest pitches by a single pitcher in a complete game, with 58, which he achieved on August 10, 1944.

List of National League Division Series broadcasters

The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers who have broadcast the National League Division Series. It does not include any announcers who may have appeared on local radio broadcasts produced by the participating teams.

MLB Network Showcase

MLB Network Showcase is the title of a presentation of Major League Baseball on cable and satellite channel MLB Network (self-produced by MLB Network), that premiered on April 9, 2009. Longtime NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Costas is one of the play-by-play voices of the broadcasts. Matt Vasgersian also does play-by-play on some games. Jim Kaat, John Smoltz, and Tom Verducci provide color commentary. The network produces 26 non-exclusive live games a year during baseball season and since 2012 two League Division Series games. Since one or both teams' local TV rights holders also carry the games, the MLB Network feed is subject to local blackouts. In that event, the cities in the blacked-out markets will instead see a simulcast of another scheduled game via one team's local TV rights holder.

Mark Clark (baseball)

Mark Willard Clark (born May 12, 1968) is a former right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. He pitched all or part of ten seasons in the majors.

Clark was born in Bath, Illinois, and made his debut on September 6, 1991 for the St. Louis Cardinals. Over the next nine seasons, Clark would develop into a journeyman starting pitcher, being traded from team to team. He pitched in one postseason game in the 1998 National League Division Series for the Chicago Cubs, a game which he lost to John Smoltz and the Atlanta Braves.

He was released by the Texas Rangers during the 2000 season, then retired. He and his wife Amy have two children: a boy named Brandon and a girl called Allyson. They now live in Kilbourne, Illinois. He is now a baseball coach for children in the Kilbourne area.

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