‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – John Smoltz VS Tom Glavine
This is going to be a tough one. And it is also going to end my ‘Head-to-Head’ battles for a little while as next week I will switch back to some of the ‘Cast Your Vote’ debates.
This week, we’ll debate the careers of John Smoltz and Tom Glavine – teammates for most of their major league careers, and legendary Atlanta Braves pitchers.
The battle may not be the ideal match-up, as Smoltz spent four seasons as a closer while Glavine remained a starting pitcher for the duration of his playing days, but it will still be fun.
First, let’s look at their career numbers:
|15-19 Win Seasons||5||5|
Two extremely solid performers. And two players that will both land in Cooperstown when first eligible (at least, in my opinion).
But, if you had to choose one player that had the better career, who would you pick: John Smoltz OR Tom Glavine??
The career tally of wins is very hard to ignore. With almost more than 100 wins that Smoltz, Glavine’s career number is very high and super respectable. But, had Smoltz never left the starting rotation for the bullpen, he may have been able to get closer to 280-300 wins evening out the difference between the two of them substantially.
Had Smoltz never gone to the bullpen then we may not have learned about what kind of character he has as a competitor. Seriously, how many players with the tag of ‘Ace’ would leave the rotation to be a closer and do it willingly and with a smile? Not many. And not only did Smoltz do it, but he became the best closer in the National League during that stretch.
Wins and saves aside, I do think that the more dominant pitcher is obvious – and that is how my vote will go. John Smoltz simply had ‘the stuff’ while Tom Glavine was more of a refined and deliberate pitcher. In 1,000 less innings of work, John Smoltz struck out 320 more batters that Tom Glavine while walking 500 less. He has a lower career ERA and WHIP while also averaging almost 3.0 more strikeouts per contest.
Tom Glavine and John Smoltz each won one World Series. Tom Glavine has two Cy Young Awards and John Smoltz has just one. Glavine also has a lot more ‘Top 5’ finishes for the award than Smoltz, with some coming while Smoltz was the closer.
Still, for me, Smoltz was the more complete pitcher. He gets my vote!!!
So, who gets your vote of this epic battle of elite pitchers and teammates???