John Smoltz, pitcher, Atlanta Braves/Boston Red Sox/St. Louis Cardinals, bats and throws right, born 5-15-1967.
Smoltz came to the Braves organization from the Detroit Tigers farm system shortly before he came to the majors in 1988, and spent almost his entire major league career with the Braves. His final season in the majors, 2009, was split between Boston and St. Louis. He was a power pitcher who relied on a mid-90s fastball, a sharp slider, and a nasty split-finger fastball. Smoltz has consistently been successful as a strikeout pitcher. He is the only pitcher in MLB history with both 200 wins and 150 saves (213 and 154, respectively).
Smoltz injured his elbow during the 1999 season and developed a knuckleball in order to pitch through the pain. After the season, he had Tommy John surgery to replace his ulnar collateral ligament, which had been torn completely. He spent the 2000 season recovering and undergoing rehabilitation, and was converted to a closer for the 2001 season.
Smoltz won the NL Cy Young Award in 1996 on the strength of an exceptional 24-8 record and 276 strikeouts, both exceeding his normal numbers by a considerable margin. He has appeared in eight All-Star games and led the NL in strikeouts twice. His final career stats include 213 wins, 155 losses, 154 saves, 3084 strikeouts, and a 3.33 ERA.
The Atlanta Braves retired his jersey number, 29, in 2012.
Following the end of his baseball career, Smoltz competes in professional and semi-professional golf events and is a broadcaster for the MLB Network and TBS.