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Card: 1992 Fleer Ultra #169
John Andrew Smoltz was born on May 15, 1967, in Detroit but grew up in Lansing, Michigan, the eldest of three children of John Adam Smoltz and the Italian American Mary Tersigni. Both parents moonlighted as accordion teachers.
"Smoltzie" played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1988 to 2009, all but the last year with the Atlanta Braves. An eight-time All-Star, Smoltz was part of a celebrated trio of starting pitchers, along with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who propelled Atlanta to perennial pennant contention in the 1990s, highlighted by a championship in the 1995 World Series. He won the National League (NL) Cy Young Award in 1996 after posting a record of 24–8, equaling the most victories by an NL pitcher since 1972.
Though predominantly known as a starter, John was converted to a reliever in 2001 after his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and spent four years as the team's closer before returning to a starting role. In 2002, he set the NL record with 55 saves and became only the second pitcher in history (joining Dennis Eckersley) to record both a 20-win season and a 50-save season. He is the only pitcher in major league history to record both 200 wins and 150 saves.
John was one of the most prominent pitchers in playoff history, posting a record of 15–4 with a 2.67 earned run average (ERA) in 41 career postseason games, and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1992 NL Championship Series; Andy Pettitte later broke his record for career postseason wins. His 6 inning, 2 hit winning 1996 World Series Game 1 performance over the New York Yankees is especially notable.
Smoltz led the NL in wins, winning percentage, strikeouts and innings pitched twice each, and his NL total of 3,084 strikeouts ranked fifth in league history when he retired. He also won the NL Reliever of the Year Award (2002), the NL Rolaids Relief Award (2002) and an NL Silver Slugger Award (1997). Interestingly, according to Baseball Digest, John is the all-time leader in postseason hits by a pitcher with 12, including 2 RBI, in 25 series.
John Smoltz is part of the Hall of Fame Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
John is also part of the MVP/Cy Young Tour – Go To The Next Stop
John is part of the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame Tour – Go to the Next Stop
John is part of the All-Star Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
John is also part of the Braves Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop
“Marmaduke” is part of the Boston Red Sox Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See all John’s baseball cards at TCDB