“I’m glad that’s over,” Smoltz said. “That’s a doubleheader I just pitched.”
“Honestly, I thought I was going to lose it when I started talking about playing for the jersey,” Smoltz said. “That’s something I hope more people can take pride in, wearing a jersey. For some people it’s just a jersey. For me it was my life.”
Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were the leaders of a terrific pitching staff that helped the Braves win 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005 and the 1995 World Series. Smoltz was the only player to be a part of each division championship.
“He led the way, he set the tone, he fought the fight and he had the will of a winner,” said Braves president John Schuerholz, who predicted Smoltz, Maddux, Glavine and Cox are bound for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Smoltz’s credentials include a 213-155 record with 154 saves and a 3.33 ERA.
After the ceremony, Smoltz threw out the first pitch _ a four-seam fastball _ to catcher Brian McCann.
Smoltz is the fourth Braves player to have his number retired in the last four years, following Cox (6) last season, Glavine (47) in 2010 and Maddux (31) in 2009. Maddux attended Friday night’s ceremony with two other players whose numbers are retired, Dale Murphy (3) and Phil Niekro (35).
Smoltz, an eight-time All-Star, won the National League Cy Young Award in 1996. He is the only pitcher in major league history with at least 200 wins and 150 saves.
He called the 20 years he spent with the Braves from 1988-2008 “the greatest ride of my life, and I thank you.”View Entire Story
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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