John Smoltz

John Smoltz

Smoltz, with the Braves in June 2007
Atlanta Braves — No. 29
Starting Pitcher
Born: May 15 1967 (1967--) (age 40)
Bats: RightThrows: Right
Major League Baseball debut
July 23, 1988 for the Atlanta Braves
Selected MLB statistics
(through 2007)
Win-Loss    207-145
Saves    154
Earned Run Average    3.26
Strikeouts    2,975
Teams


John Andrew Smoltz (born May 15, 1967 in Warren, Michigan) is a Major League Baseball player currently playing with the Atlanta Braves. He is predominantly known as a starter and former Cy Young Award winner. However, before the 2001 season, his 13th, he became a closer, a role in which he is no longer serving. In 2002 he became only the second pitcher in history to have had both a 20-win season and a 50-save season (the other being Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley). He is the only pitcher in Major League history to top both 200 wins and 150 saves.

Smoltz throws a four-seam fastball that has been clocked as high as 104 MPH, a strong, effective slider, and a 90 MPH split-finger fastball that he uses as a strikeout pitch. He also mixes in a curveball and change-up on occasion, and in 1999, he began experimenting with both a knuckleball and a three-quarters delivery, though he rarely uses either in game situations today.[1]

Minor Leagues and trade to Atlanta

John Smoltz was an All-State baseball and basketball player at Waverly High School in Lansing, Michigan before the Detroit Tigers drafted him in the 22nd round of the 1985 amateur draft. He was the 574th selection of the draft. He would have been drafted higher, but concerns that he would accept a basketball scholarship from Michigan State University dissuaded teams from drafting him.

Smoltz would never throw a pitch for the Tigers. On August 12, 1987, he was traded to the Atlanta 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 the 36-year-old veteran Doyle Alexander. The trade initially worked to perfection. Alexander posted a 9-0 record with a 1.53 ERA down the stretch, as Detroit overtook Toronto and narrowly won the division. However, the Tigers were beaten easily by the Minnesota Twins in the playoffs. Alexander remained with Detroit, winning 20 games in two years before retiring. The Tigers did not reappear in the postseason until 2006.

On the other side of the trade, Smoltz developed into a pitching stalwart for a 14-time division winning team. Atlanta won five NL pennants, including the franchise's first championship in 38 years.

Career

Early years

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 making the All-Star team. Teammate Tom Glavine also had his first good year in 1989, raising optimism about the future of Atlanta's pitching staff.

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 [1], 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 Atlanta Braves to their first-ever World Series. 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 in the eighth. Morris had eventually pitched a 10-inning complete game victory.

The next year, Smoltz won fifteen 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. Smoltz won his first World Series victory against the Toronto Blue Jays, but the Braves lost in six games.

Before the 1993 season, the Braves signed renowned control pitcher Greg Maddux, completing what many consider to be the most accomplished starting trio ever assembled on a single Major League team. Smoltz again won fifteen, but suffered his first postseason loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS despite a 0.00 ERA.

Smoltz had a 6-10 record in the strike-shortened 1994 season, and during the break, had bone chips removed from his elbow. Returning as the Braves' #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 their only World Series, thanks in great part to Maddux and Glavine, who had begun to overshadow Smoltz.

The following season, 1996, was Smoltz's best year as a professional. He went 24-8 with a 2.94 ERA and 276 strikeouts, including winning a franchise record fourteen straight decisions. He won the National League Cy Young 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 was also awarded a Silver Slugger Award for his batting.

Injuries and move to the bullpen

Smoltz continued to post excellent statistics in 1998 and 1999, but he was spending significant time on the disabled list and missed about a fourth of his starts. In 1999, Smoltz began experimenting with both a knuckleball and a three-quarters delivery, though he rarely uses either in game situations today.[2]

He underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the 2000 season, missing the entire year. 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 closer down the stretch.

In 2002, his first full season as a closer, Smoltz broke the National League saves record with 55 saves (the previous record was 53; Éric Gagné would equal Smoltz's new record a year later). Smoltz finished third in the Cy Young Award voting. Injuries limited Smoltz slightly in 2003, but he still recorded 45 saves with a 1.12 ERA in 64.3 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.

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 New York Mets, a divisional rival, while Greg Maddux returned to his old team, the Chicago Cubs.

Return to the rotation

After three years as one of baseball's most dominating closers, the team's management agreed to return Smoltz to the starting rotation prior to the 2005 season.

Smoltz's renewed career as a starter began inauspiciously. He allowed six earned runs in only 1 2/3 innings--matching the shortest starts of his career--as the Braves were blown out on Opening Day by the Florida 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 received the loss. For his career, he is 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 with 169 strikeouts while allowing less than one hit per inning. Smoltz had answered the critics who doubted 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 towards 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 Two of the 2005 NLDS. It was the only game the Braves would manage to win 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 currently has more career postseason wins than any other player in history. He is followed by Andy Pettitte (14), Tom Glavine (14), and Greg Maddux (11).

In 2006, Smoltz finished the season with a record of 16-9, an earned run average of 3.49, and 211 strikeouts. He was tied for the National League 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.

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 Smoltz's ability to pitch 200 innings in 2008, and a $12 or $13 million team option for 2010 dependent on Smoltz's ability to pitch 200 innings in 2009.

2007 was a year of reunions and milestones for Smoltz. On May 9, he faced Greg 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 a no-decision. On May 24, exactly eleven years to the day after recording his 100th win, Smoltz recorded his 200th win against Tom Glavine.[3] He faced Glavine 3 other times faring 3-1 overall against him. On June 27, Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux all recorded wins on the same day. On August 19, 2007, Smoltz set the new Atlanta Braves strikeout record by striking out Arizona Diamondbacks' Mark Reynolds. It was his 2,913th strikeout and he passed Phil Niekro on the Braves all-time list; striking out a season-high 12 in the game.[4] He finished the year 14-8 with a 3.11 ERA and 197 strikeouts. The stalwart pitcher remains the only holdover on the Braves' roster from their 1991 worst-to-first season.

Same-sex marriage controversy

According to an article written by the Associated Press and published on July 3, 2004, Smoltz made disparaging remarks about same-sex marriage, comparing it to bestiality. The article quoted him as derisively saying, "What's next? Marrying an animal?" It also included remarks of a similar nature by Braves' catcher Eddie Perez. These remarks proved controversial, particularly in light of anti-homosexual remarks made several years earlier by Braves pitcher John Rocker. After the story broke, Braves spokesman Brad Hainje stated that the players were "speaking from their personal point of view" instead of voicing views held by the organization. Hainje also stated that when Smoltz was asked about the article, he indicated that "the article did not accurately reflect his views on the topic." In response, Jack Stokes, the AP's director of media relations, pointed out that no member of the Braves organization had contacted the AP to request a clarification or correction regarding the remarks in question.[5]

Accomplishments

  • 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)
  • Holds Braves record for most wins in a season (1996, with 24)
  • Led the National League in wins (1996, with 24)
  • Counting his wins in the playoffs and All-Star Game, John Smoltz amassed 29 wins in 1996. The only higher such total in the last 70 years is Denny McLain's 31 in 1968.
  • Holds Braves record for most strikeouts in a season (1996, with 276)
  • Led the Major Leagues in strikeouts (1996, with 276)
  • Led the National League in win percentage (1996)
  • Silver Slugger Award Winner for Pitcher (1997)
  • Finished 4th in National League Cy Young Award voting (1998)
  • Led the Major Leagues in Win 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)
  • Holds Braves record for most saves in a career (154)
  • Holds Braves record for most saves in a season (2002, with 55)
  • Led the Major Leagues 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 (2,926)
  • Given the Branch Rickey Award for exceptional community service (2007) [6]

Personal life

Smoltz met his wife at the Omni Hotel in downtown Atlanta. Smoltz is a born-again Christian who has made Atlanta his home, and is Chairman of the Board at Alpharetta-based King's Ridge Christian School,[2] and a member of the Presbyterian Church in America. He also has a home at Sea Island, a golf resort on the Georgia coast. Smoltz produced an automated campaign phone recording on behalf of the candidacy of Ralph E. Reed, Jr. for Lt. Governor of Georgia during the 2006 primary (Post) As a father of four children, he dedicated himself to the development of a new Christian school in the metropolitan Atlanta region. "Building a school takes an incredible amount of time. In one sense, I'd rather have another surgery on my arm than go through all this again." On February 9, 2007, Smoltz's agent, Lonnie Cooper, released a statement informing the public of the decision by Smoltz and his wife Dyan were going through divorce after 16 years of marriage. The couple has four young children.

Many reports suggest that Smoltz suffered a chest burn by trying to steam wrinkles out of his shirt while wearing it. Smoltz has long denied the story.[7]

Smoltz is a good friend of professional golfer Tiger Woods. The two often golf together.[8]

See also

References

1. ^ Neyer, Rob and Bill James, The Neyer-James Guide to Pichers. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004. ISBN 0743261585
2. ^ Neyer, Rob and Bill James, The Neyer-James Guide to Pichers. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004. ISBN 0743261585
3. ^ [3]
4. ^ [4]
5. ^ "MLB star compares gay marriage to bestiality", Ryan Lee, The Washington Blade, published July 16, 2004, accessed August 4, 2006.
6. ^ [5]
7. ^ [6]
8. ^ [7]

External links

starting pitcher, often abbreviated as starter, is the pitcher who pitches the first pitch to the first batter of a game. A pitcher who enters the game after the first pitch of the game is a relief pitcher.
..... Click the link for more information.
May 15 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

Events

  • 1252 - Pope Innocent IV issues the papal bull ad exstirpanda

..... Click the link for more information.
19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1930s  1940s  1950s  - 1960s -  1970s  1980s  1990s
1964 1965 1966 - 1967 - 1968 1969 1970

Year 1967 (MCMLXVII
..... Click the link for more information.
July 23 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

Events

  • 1632 - 300 colonists bound for New France depart Dieppe, France.

..... Click the link for more information.
19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1950s  1960s  1970s  - 1980s -  1990s  2000s  2010s
1985 1986 1987 - 1988 - 1989 1990 1991

Year 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII
..... Click the link for more information.
win (denoted W) is generally credited to the pitcher for the winning team who was in the game when they last took the lead. A starting pitcher must generally complete five innings to earn a win.
..... Click the link for more information.
In baseball statistics, earned run average (ERA) is the mean of earned runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings pitched. It bears similar meaning to a hitter's batting average.
..... Click the link for more information.
strikeout or strike out (denoted by SO or K) occurs when the batter receives three strikes during his time at bat. Strikeouts are associated with dominance on the part of the pitcher and/or incompetence on the part of the batter, although for power hitters it
..... Click the link for more information.
Atlanta Braves Established 1871 Based in Atlanta since 1966

Team Logo Cap Insignia
Major league affiliations
  • National League (1876–present)

..... Click the link for more information.
See also: 1988 Major League Baseball season

The following are the baseball events of the year 1988 throughout the world.   This year in baseball
2000s
..... Click the link for more information.
May 15 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

Events

  • 1252 - Pope Innocent IV issues the papal bull ad exstirpanda

..... Click the link for more information.
19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1930s  1940s  1950s  - 1960s -  1970s  1980s  1990s
1964 1965 1966 - 1967 - 1968 1969 1970

Year 1967 (MCMLXVII
..... Click the link for more information.
City of Warren

Seal

Coordinates:
Country United States
State Michigan
County Macomb
Incorporated 1957
Government
..... Click the link for more information.
Sport Baseball
Founded 1876
No. of teams 30
Country(ies)  United States
 Canada

Most recent champion(s) St. Louis Cardinals

TV partner(s) FOX, ESPN, and TBS
Official website MLB.
..... Click the link for more information.
Atlanta Braves Established 1871 Based in Atlanta since 1966

Team Logo Cap Insignia
Major league affiliations
  • National League (1876–present)

..... Click the link for more information.
Cy Young Award is an honor given annually to the best pitchers in the Major Leagues. The award was first introduced in 1956 by Commissioner Ford Frick in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who died in 1955.
..... Click the link for more information.
The following are the baseball events of the year 2001 throughout the world.   This year in baseball
2000s
2009 • 2008 • 2007 • 2006 • 2005
..... Click the link for more information.
closing pitcher, more frequently referred to as a closer (abbreviated CL), is a relief pitcher who specializes in closing games, i.e., getting the final outs in a close game.
..... Click the link for more information.
The following are the baseball events of the year 2002 throughout the world.   This year in baseball
2000s
2009 • 2008 • 2007 • 2006 • 2005
..... Click the link for more information.
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, is a museum operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of baseball-related artifacts
..... Click the link for more information.
Dennis Lee Eckersley (born October 3, 1954 in Oakland, California), nicknamed "Eck," is a former Major League Baseball player elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004 (his first year of eligibility).
..... Click the link for more information.
fastball is the most common type of pitch in baseball. Some "power pitchers," like Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Satchel Paige, Troy Percival, Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, Sam McDowell, Randy Johnson, Justin Verlander, Bobby Jenks, Joel Zumaya, Kyle Farnsworth, Rich Harden and J.J.
..... Click the link for more information.
Miles per hour is a unit of speed, expressing the number of international miles covered per hour.

Miles per hour is the unit used for speed limits, and speeds, on roads in the United Kingdom, United States and some other nations, where it is commonly abbreviated in everyday
..... Click the link for more information.
slider is a pitch halfway between a curveball and a fastball. When pitched, the slider breaks laterally and down, with more speed than a curve ball but less speed than a fastball. The break on the pitch is shorter than that of a curveball.
..... Click the link for more information.
A split-finger fastball or splitter is a pitch in baseball and a variant of the straight fastball. It is named after the technique of putting the index and middle finger on different sides of the ball, or "splitting" them.
..... Click the link for more information.
strikeout or strike out (denoted by SO or K) occurs when the batter receives three strikes during his time at bat. Strikeouts are associated with dominance on the part of the pitcher and/or incompetence on the part of the batter, although for power hitters it
..... Click the link for more information.


The curveball is a breaking pitch in baseball thrown with a grip and hand movement that imparts down spin to the ball.
..... Click the link for more information.
A changeup is a type of pitch in baseball. Other names include change-of-pace and simply change. The changeup is sometimes called an off-speed pitch, although that term can also be used simply to mean any pitch that is slower than a fastball.
..... Click the link for more information.
Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism.
If you are prevented from editing this page, and you wish to make a change, please discuss changes on the talk page, request unprotection, log in, or .
..... Click the link for more information.
City of Lansing

Flag
Seal
Location in Ingham County, Michigan1
Coordinates:
Country United States
State Michigan
Counties Ingham, Eaton
..... Click the link for more information.


This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. The text was not checked or edited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.