Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz gave his Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech in Cooperstown, N.Y. on Sunday.
Smoltz was enshrined after a 21-year career, 20 with the Braves and one split between the Red Sox and Cardinals. He joins former Braves rotation-mates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who entered the Hall last year.
On a humorous note, Smoltz donned a wig for part of his speech, explaining that it was so Maddux couldn't make fun of him for being bald.
Smoltz holds the unique distinction of being the only pitcher ever to make the Hall of Fame after having Tommy John Surgery. “Tommy John is an epidemic,” he said at the podium, sharing his belief that baseball is “not a year-round sport,” and that young pitchers should rest their arms and play other sports throughout the calendar year. Smoltz underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the 2000 season and missed the entire year, transitioning from starter to reliever upon his return and becoming one of the game's most dominant closers before eventually moving back into the rotation.
Serving as both a starter and reliever during his career, Smoltz holds a 213-155 record, 154 saves, 3,084 strikeouts and a 3.33 ERA. He led the NL in wins and strikeouts twice, and was the only Braves player to be a member of the team for the entirety of the team's 14 consecutive NL East titles from 1991-2005. He is the only player in MLB history with 200 wins and 100 saves.
You can watch Smoltz's speech below.
- Jeremy Woo