John Smoltz - 1989 Donruss

John Andrew Smoltz (May 15, 1967-) is only the second pitcher in Major League history to record both a 20-win season and a 50-save season (with Dennis Eckersley) and is the only pitcher in history to have 20 wins and 150 saves. After he won All-State honors in baseball and basketball, the Detroit Tigers selected John in the 22nd round of the 1985 MLB June Amateur Draft, immediately shipping him to Single-A Lakeland for seasoning. The Tigers then shipped him to the Atlanta Braves for Doyle Alexander, a veteran righthander to help them in the pennant race. Smoltz joined a promising, young pitching staff that would set the pace during the 1990s and dominate the National League with power, pinpoint accuracy and extraordinary control. His repertoire consisted of a four-seam fastball, slider, curveball and change-up, but his split-finger fastball devastated batters and he used it effectively as his “out” pitch. Smoltz held the number three spot in the Atlanta Braves rotation that included control pitcher and four-time Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux, left-hander and two-time Cy Young Award winner Tom Glavine, who could paint the outside of the plate like no other. In 1996, John went 24-8, leading the National League in wins, winning percentage (.750), innings pitched (253.2) and strikeouts (276) to win his one and only NL Cy Young Award. From 1991 to 1998, Glavine, Maddux or Smoltz won seven out of eight possible NL Cy Youngs. With the help of this superior rotation, the Braves won eight National League East Division titles from 1991 to 1999, and 14 titles from 1991 to 2005. They also played in five World Series, winning the 1996 Fall Classic against the Cleveland Indians.

Hampered by injuries in the late 1990s, Smoltz underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the 2000 season. In 2001, he struggled to return to the starting rotation and due to the physical demand put on his arm with high pitch counts, so manager Bobby Cox began utilizing the veteran out of the bullpen and he was eventually inserted into the closer role. In his first full season as the Braves closer, he led the NL in saves with 55 earning the NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award and added 45 and 44 in the next two seasons. He returned to the Braves starting rotation in 2005 and led the NL in wins the following season with 16. He was named the 2005 ML Roberto Clemente Award recipient and 2005 ML Lou Gehrig Memorial Award winner. John pitched 21 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Braves (1988-1999/2001-2008), the Boston Red Sox (2009) and the St. Louis Cardinals (2009). John Smoltz finished his career with a 213-155 record, 53 complete games, 16 shutouts and 154 saves in 481 starts, 204 games finished and 723 starts. He also became the 16th pitcher in history to top the 3,000 strikeouts mark, finishing with 3,084. The eight-time All-Star also won the 1997 Silver Slugger award, but despite being a decent fielder was unable to prior the NL Gold Glove Award away from teammate Greg Maddux, who won 13 straight and 19 in total. In 2010, Smoltz was added to the Peachtree TV broadcasting team with Joe Simpson covering the Atlanta Braves. John Smoltz was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015. With his induction in 2015, Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine joined only a handful of starting rotations to each enter the Hall.


Condition Census (Explain)

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 GEM MT 10 (492)

AUCTION PRICES REALIZED

Date Price Grade Lot # Auction House Auction/Seller Type Cert
05/12/2012 $30 10 402 SCP Auctions MAY 2012 PREMIER INTERNET AUCTION Auction 18489605
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