I’ve been a Braves fan my whole life, so it’s probably no surprise to know that my favorite player has long been John Smoltz. His fiery competitiveness is legendary, and his integrity and the respect he garners on and off the field is equally well known. He’s a big-game pitcher par excellence, the winningest postseason pitcher of all time. He’s the only pitcher to ever record 200 victories and 150 saves, and is in the very elite 3,000 strikeout club. For years he’s pitched through pain, willing himself to continue, and has remained among the game’s elite.
Today brings news that his shoulder can’t go on, so he’s having season-ending surgery that could well be career-ending surgery. I’m so glad he was able to pitch long enough this season to get that 3,000th strikeout at Turner Field. I sure hope he can come back, but if he can’t, there is a real possibility that Smoltz, Glavine, and Maddux, should the other two opt to retire after this year, will go into the Hall of Fame together on what will be Braves Day at Cooperstown in a few years. That’ll be cool.