John Andrew Smoltz (born May 15, 1967), nicknamed "Smoltzie" and "Marmaduke," is an American former baseball pitcher and active sportscaster. He played 21 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for three teams, all but one of which were spent with the Atlanta Braves. In his tenure with the team, he garnered eight All-Star selections and the National League Cy Young Award in 1996. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015, his first year of eligibility.
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.
By Dean Hanley
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