On June 8, the Braves will retire John Smoltz's no. 29 and induct him into the team Hall of Fame, the club has announced.
A Michigan native, Smoltz was originally drafted by his home-state Detroit Tigers, but they dealt him to the Braves in August of 1987 in exchange for Doyle Alexander. Smoltz came to the Braves as an inconsistent minor-leaguer with control problems and a 5.86 ERA in the Eastern League. Soon, though, he harnessed his stuff and became a frontline ace.
For the next 20 years, Smoltz was, variously, a key member of one of the greatest rotations in baseball history and a shutdown closer. By the end of his career, Smoltz ranked 16th on the all-time strikeout list and had racked up 213 wins and 154 saves (in addition to more than $135 million in career earnings). As well, he won an NL Cy Young, made eight All-Star teams and posted a 2.67 ERA across 209.0 postseason innings. Presumably, Cooperstown will come calling once he hits the ballot in 2015.
Smoltz will join Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Phil Niekro, Bobby Cox, Dale Murphy, Greg Maddux, and, of course, Jackie Robinson as those so honored by the Braves' organization.
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