Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hall of Gold and Now A Hall of Famer

On a team that featured two much more heralded future Hall of Famers, John Smoltz possessed the best 'stuff' of the Big Three (mid-high 90s fastball, nasty slider, 90 mph splitter as an 'out pitch' and decent curveball and change-up) and was the pitcher that opposing hitters did not want to face. And with today's election into the Baseball Hall of Fame, John will forever be linked with two other pitchers- Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez, who, oh, by the way, were 'pretty good' pitchers in their own right.

One of only two pitchers to have been both an elite starter and an elite closer, Smoltzie is the only pitcher to record over 200 wins and 150 saves. John was arguably one of the top three post-season pitchers of all-time with a postseason record of 15-4, with Atlanta scoring a combined four runs in those four losses. He's also widely known as one of the most fierce competitors you'll ever see. 

 Detractors can point to WAR and JAWS and spew that Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina are more worthy of being elected, but do they consider the time Smoltz lost to injury (almost 2 full seasons) and the near four seasons he spent as a closer (a role, which doesn't generate much in the WAR column, BTW). As Jon Heyman of CBS Sports pointed out recently, Smoltz' shockingly low WAR reflects a flaw in the system. What would his numbers looked like had he spent those six years as a starter? I guess it doesn't matter, at this point. 

Congratulations to not only Mr. Smoltz, but to the Big Unit, Biggio and Petey, as well.

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