John Smoltz has a good sense of who he is. Here are some of his thoughts.
Smoltz in his 2012 book “Starting and Closing: Perseverance, Faith, and One More Year
I think it’s pretty clear that my career wasn’t all about natural talent; I wasn’t sprinkled with any magic dust. I wasn’t the fastest or the strongest or even the smartest, but I would argue that whatever I lacked in sheer talent, I made up for along the way with tenacity and perseverance; a lot of my success was achieved by constantly learning, adapting, and overcoming obstacles.
In January 2015, at his Hall of Fame news conference
To say the least, [converting to closer] was the hardest thing I’d ever done, the fast track of trying to learn on the job, faster than I was ready for. What most people don’t understand is that I failed miserably in the beginning [as full-time closer], and in failing miserably it motivated me, much like the rest of my career, to rally. I gave up eight runs in two-thirds of an inning, I believe against the Mets, and I got booed. And I struggled that whole month due to a thumb injury. And at the end of the year, 55 saves kind of answered a lot of those questions. And kind of made people forget about me as a starter, which at that time was a little tough to swallow.
During his tour of Cooperstown four weeks after being elected to the Hall
The Hall of Fame is a pretty incredible place filled with some elite people, and it’s hard to feel like you’re part of that. I think the biggest thing is that when I walk in this room I may not have the most eye-popping stats, but I have one of the most unique careers.
Smoltz after winning the World Series in 1996
This is for everyone who doubted us. People said I couldn’t make the transition back to starting. People said we had too many rookies again. But we proved everybody wrong. This is really something to celebrate.
Smoltz in 1998
Why not chase what some see as impossible? Why not believe in yourself? Why not dare to be great … even if it means being different?