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Game: Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves

John Smoltz

  • Sport: Baseball
  • Decade Inducted: 00s

An eight-time All Star and 1996 National League Cy Young Award winner, John Smoltz enjoyed success on the mound as both a starting pitcher and a reliever. Born in Detroit, Smoltz was drafted by his hometown Tigers in 1985 as a 22nd-round selection.

Two years later, Smoltz was dealt to the Atlanta Braves in what turned out to be one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history with the Tigers receiving veteran hurler Doyle Alexander. While Alexander finished the 1987 season strong, he lost a combined 29 games in the following two season with Detroit while Smoltz went on to superstardom as a Brave.

Smoltz broke in with the Braves during the 1988 season and became a full-time starter in 1989, when he also earned his first All-Star appearance. As Atlanta began racking up playoff appearances, Smoltz began starring on the biggest stages, winning twice against the Pirates during the 1991 NLCS and allowing just two runs over 14.1 innings against the Twins in the World Series.

Smoltz finished his career with 41 playoff appearances and posted a 15-4 record in the postseason with a 2.67 ERA. He never lost a game in the Division Series, going 7-0 while punching out 52 hitters in 51 frames during eight World Series starts.

Smoltz finished his career with 213 victories plus 154 saves in just four seasons while saving his arm as the Braves’ closer as he returned from injuries. He’s the only pitcher in big league history with 200-plus wins and 150-plus saves. In 2008, he became just the 16th pitcher ever to record 3,000 strikeouts. Smoltz’s number 29 was retired by the Braves in 2012. He is currently a broadcaster for TBS and can be heard providing insights during their coverage of the League Championship Series.