Rick is joined this week by Baseball Hall of Famer and Atlanta Braves legend, John Smoltz.
Smoltz played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1988 to 2009, all but the last year with the Atlanta Braves. An eight-time All-Star, Smoltz was part of a celebrated trio of starting pitchers, along with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who propelled Atlanta to perennial pennant contention in the 1990s, highlighted by a championship in the 1995 World Series. He won the National League (NL) Cy Young Award in 1996 after posting a record of 24–8, equaling the most victories by an NL pitcher since 1972. Though predominantly known as a starter, Smoltz was converted to a reliever in 2001 after his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and spent four years as the team’s closer before returning to a starting role. In 2002, he set the NL record with 55 saves and became only the second pitcher in history (joining Dennis Eckersley) to record both a 20-win season and a 50-save season. He is the only pitcher in major league history to record both 200 wins and 150 saves.
Smoltz was one of the most prominent pitchers in playoff history, posting a record of 15–4 with a 2.67 earned run average (ERA) in 41 career postseason games, and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1992 NL Championship Series
I caught up with Smoltz not in Atlanta, but at a Bridgestone Golf event that was part of the 2020 PGA Show in Atlanta.
Smoltz has now turned his attention to golf and recently won another celebrity tournament. He’ll be making some starts on the PGA Champions Tour and hopes to qualify this year again for the U.S. Senior Open.
Smoltz is also now a respected voice in the baseball broadcast booth. Hard pressed to find someone better to explain the game than Smoltz.