You have to love this. The Atlanta Braves’ Big 3 pitchers of the 1990s will be reunited in Cooperstown. What a glorious reunion that will be.
John Smoltz was elected Tuesday (January 6, 2015) to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the largest class in 60 years. Smoltz joins former teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who were inducted last year alongside former Braves manager Bobby Cox, among baseball’s immortals.
As part of a dominant starting rotation for the Braves in the 1990s that included Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, Smoltz helped make Atlanta perennial contenders, highlighted by a championship in the 1995 World Series. Though predominantly known as a starting pitcher, Smoltz was converted to a reliever in 2001, following his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and he spent four years as the team’s closer before returning to a starting role. In 2002, he became only the second pitcher in history to record a 20-win season and a 50-save season (the other being Dennis Eckersley).
He is the only pitcher in major league history to top both 200 wins and 150 saves. In 2008, he became the 16th member of the 3,000 strikeout club. 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.
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.