A question and answer session with Major League Baseball Hall of Famer John Smoltz, the former Atlanta Brave pitcher, who is now a broadcaster with MLB Network.
When you were in the Atlanta Braves’ starting rotation with fellow Hall of Famers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, did you have hitting contests?
We did. We would come up with point systems and we took a lot of pride in getting a bunt down. And sooner or later, everybody hit a home run, which I never thought would happen from Glavine’s standpoint. When he hit a home run, I about passed out.
Who was the best hitter?
He probably was because he put the ball in play and could slap the ball down the left field line, it seemed like at will. But Greg was the same kind of not expected to do a whole lot, he found a way to hit and he could do little things as well.
I had the most power but it was probably foolish for me to think that every time I went up there, I could hit a home run but it was all I tried to do for the most part. Not every time, but you pick your moments and for me that’s what ended up tearing my left shoulder in 1997 and never got it fixed and never was a good hitter again at that point.
Is it true that at one time you were an accomplished accordionist?
I was, yeah, but that was 4 years old to 7 years old so based on what my parents tell me, the future was bright back then for that. But I’m sure they were glad that they allowed me to play baseball.
My parents were both accordion teachers. They both played and music was something that they instilled in me and I guess I was good at. I don’t really remember too much. … I could play the keys; I just couldn’t play the bass. For the most part, I can hear something and play it. I don’t read music anymore. It’s just something that taught me a lot when I was a kid. It taught me discipline and work habits, and it really did have an influence in what later became a sports career.