Tag Archives: john smoltz

Happy Birthday John Smoltz!!!

Happy Birthday John Smoltz!!!

John Smoltz turns 47 years old today!!!

One of the most versatile and team-oriented players to play the game in the last 20 years, John Smoltz is a rare breed. A player that is willing to accept any role that the team wants him to perform in, Smoltz personified what the ‘Team-First’ mentality is all about.

Smoltz has 213 career wins alongside 154 saves. Had he not spent 4 seasons in the bullpen during his days with the Atlanta Braves, Smoltz could have been in line to win 300 career games. Instead, he did what was asked of him and saved an incredible 154 games in 4 years for the ‘Bravos’.

Happy Birthday Smoltzy!!!

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Did You Know…

John Smoltz was the first pitcher in major league baseball history to record 200 wins and 100 saves.

Smoltz

2013 Topps Update ‘Postseason Heroes’ Subset – John Smoltz

2013 Topps Update ‘Postseason Heroes’ Subset – John Smoltz

The 2013 Topps Update baseball card set includes a subset tagged as ‘Postseason Heroes.  And with that theme, you would expect to find cards of modern players like Albert Pujols, Edgar Renteria, and Pablo Sandoval but none of these guys made the checklist.

That does leave room for some nice surprises…

This is the card of John Smoltz from the set:

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In his 21 season major league career, John Smoltz made it to the postseason 14 times – 13 times with Atlanta and 1 time with St.Louis.

Smoltz has a career postseason record of 15-4 with 4 saves with 209 innings pitched.  He compiled an ERA of just 2.67 while striking out 199 batters while walking just 67.

In 1992, Smoltz won the 1992 NLCS due to his 2-win performance versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.

‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – John Smoltz VS Tom Glavine

‘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:

Smoltz Glavine
Seasons 21 22
Innings Pitched 3,473 4,413
Wins 213 305
20-Win Seasons 1 5
15-19 Win Seasons 5 5
Win % 57.9% 60.0%
Complete Games 53 56
Shutouts 16 25
Saves 154 0
30-Save Seasons 0 0
40-Save Seasons 2 0
50-Save Seasons 1 0
ERA 3.33 3.54
WHIP 1.176 1.314
Strikeouts 3,084 2,607
Walks 1010 1,500
K:Walk 3.05 1.74
K:9 Innings 8 5.3
All-Star 8 10
Silver Slugger 1 3
Gold Glove 0 0
Cy Young 1 2
ROY 0 0
MVP 0 0
Postseasons 14 12
WS Titles 1 1

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!!!

Smoltz.Glavine

So, who gets your vote of this epic battle of elite pitchers and teammates???

‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Dennis Eckersley VS John Smoltz

‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Dennis Eckersley VS John Smoltz

If you were to ask my to name two of my favorite pitchers from the last 30 years, the names of Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz would certainly be in the mix.

And these two dominant starting pitchers turned closers have quite a bit in common when it comes to dominance on the field.

And in my eyes, but are extremely undervalued even with all of the attention and fame that has come their way.

But, let’s get back to my comment about how similar these two guys are.

Take a look at the numbers:

Eckersley Smoltz
Seasons 24 21
Wins 197 213
20-Win Seasons 1 1
Win % 53.5 57.9
Complete Games 100 53
Saves 390 154
30-Save Seasons 4 0
40-Save Seasons 3 2
50-Save Seasons 1 1
ERA 3.5 3.33
WHIP 1.161 1.176
Strikeouts 2,401 3,084
Walks 738 1,010
K:Walk 3.25 3.05
K:9 Innings 6.6 8
All-Star 6 8
Cy Young 1 1
MVP 1 0
Postseasons 7 14
WS Titles 1 1

*

I told you that they had some things in common…

The standout numbers for me:
* Eck’s career complete games is unreal, but it also speaks to the style of ball played when he was a starter
* In four seasons as a closer, Smoltz averaged 38.5 saves per year, he then returned back to the starting lineup and went 14-7, 16-9, and 14-8 in his next three seasons
* incredibly close ERA and WHIP
* Smoltz dominates in strikeouts despite pitching just 180 more innings
* Smoltz crushes in K’s per 9 innings despite that being Eck’s signature with Oakland
* Very surprised to see Eck have a higher K:Walk ratio

So, who is the better pitcher?  Who has accomplished more?

Well, according to BaseballReference.com, Eck wins the battle as they have him ranked as the 28th best pitcher of all-time, with Smoltz taking the 31st spot.  They also have Orel Hershiser in 26th so take that for what it is worth…

But when I compare these two very talented pitchers, I have to give the slight edge to Eckersley – and it is by a very thin margin; the thinnest since I have introduced this new head-to-head format.

My reasons?  Well, for me it came down to longevity at  both roles – and long-lasting dominance at both as well.  For Eck, he does not get the credit he deserves for being a solid starting pitcher.  He started for the first 12 years of his career, averaging 12 wins a year on some lousy teams.  Smoltz may have averaged more wins per year, but he played on the team of the decade and had a huge offense to rely on for run support.  Eckersley’s 3.25 K:Walk ratio is well above the mendoza-line as well (3.0:1.0) and is surprisingly higher than that of Smoltz, who was known as the power pitcher from the Braves dynasty of the 1990’s.

Lastly, Dennis Eckserlsey is considered to be one of the finest closers of all-time.  When naming them, he is always present – and usually sets in the Top 3 without much argument.  With Smoltz, for as dominant as he was with the Braves, there was a lot of competition for the top spot among starting pitcher during his prime.  Would he get a vote or two? Sure, but so would a dozen other guys.

ECKERSLEY VS SMOLTZ

So, when you compare the careers of Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz, how do you rank them?   Is one far better than the other in your eyes or do you, too, think that the match-up  is close like I do??

I’m eager to get your thoughts on this one!  Let me hear it.

Happy Birthday John Smoltz!!!

Happy Birthday John Smoltz!!!

John Smoltz turns 46 years old today!!!

One of the most versatile and team-oriented players to play the game in the last 20 years, John Smoltz is a rare breed. A player that is willing to accept any role that the team wants him to perform in, Smoltz personified what the ‘Team-First’ mentality is all about.

Smoltz has 213 career wins alongside 154 saves. Had he not spent 4 seasons in the bullpen during his days with the Atlanta Braves, Smoltz could have been in line to win 300 career games. Instead, he did what was asked of him and saved an incredible 154 games in 4 years for the ‘Bravos’.

Happy Birthday Smoltzy!!!

2012 Topps ‘Mound Dominance’ Subset – Card #MD-14 – John Smoltz, Atlanta Braves

2012 Topps ‘Mound Dominance’ Subset – Card #MD-14  – John Smoltz, Atlanta Braves

I really like the ‘Mound Dominance’ subset that Topps included in their 2012 base set.  The cards are sharp, the graphics are solid, and I am a sucker for cards that pay homage to a historic baseball event.

The ‘Mound Dominance’ set recalls 15 amazing pitching performances in major league history.

This is card#14 – John Smoltz, Atlanta Braves

JOHN SMOLTZ

The Dominant Day – October 17, 1991.  In Game 7 of the NLCS, John Smoltz pitched his best postseason game of his career.  He threw a complete game shutout while striking out 8 batters and allowing just 6 hits.  Smoltz threw 123 pitches in the contest and was the leader of the Braves as they advanced to the 1991 World Series.

Progress – 14/15