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John Smoltz

John Andrew Smoltz (born May 15, 1967 in Detroit, Michigan) is a Major League Baseball player. While he is predominantly known as a starter and former Cy Young Award winner, in 2001 he became a closer. In 2002 he became only the second pitcher in history to have both a season with 20 wins and a season with 50 saves in their career (the other was Dennis Eckersley).

Table of contents
1 Early Career
2 Best Years
3 Accomplishments
4 Teams
5 External Links

Early Career

John was an All-State baseball and basketball player during high school in Lansing, Michigan before the Detroit Tigers drafted him in the 22nd round of the 1985 amateur draft.

John's developed in the Detroit farm system for a few years until, on August 12, 1987, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Doyle Alexander.

John made his Major League debut on July 23, 1988. Granted the opportunity to make 12 starts that season, John did not fair well. His year-end record was 2-7 with a 5.48 ERA.

Best Years

In 1989, John gave the first of what would be many exceptional seasons at the Major League level. In 29 starts, he recorded a 12-11 record and 2.94 ERA while pitching 208 innings. Together with teammate Tom Glavine, who also pitched a break-out year in 1989, there was plenty of reason for optimism about the future of Atlanta's pitching staff.

John made his first of many postseason appearances in 1991, pitching well in a losing cause. Over his postseason career, John has an 12-4 record and 2.72 ERA. The Braves won the World Series in 1995 -- but with little help from Smoltz, who had the worst postseason of his career.

Before the 1993 season the Braves signed renowned control pitcher Greg Maddux, completing what many consider to be the most accomplished starting trio ever assembled on a single Major League team. During the period of 1991 to 1998, Smoltz, Maddux and Glavine won 7 National League Cy Young Awards (6 with Atlanta -- Maddux won in 1992 with the Chicago Cubs). All three are strong possibilities for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Smoltz' best personal year came in 1996, when he went 24-8 with a 2.94 ERA and 276 strikeouts. He won the National League Cy Young with 26 of the 28 first-place votes.

Adjustments to convert John from a starter to a closer began in 2001 after several seasons of increased fatigue and fewer innings pitched, culminating in Tommy John surgery after the 1999 season. In his first full season as a closer, in 2002, John broke the National League saves record with 55 saves (the previous record was 53). While he posted fewer saves in 2003 with 45, John posted a miniscule 1.12 ERA -- 8 ERss in 64.3 innings pitched.



External Links