“My pitching philosophy is simple: keep the ball away from the bat.”
— Satchel Paige
A few moments ago, John Smoltz, future Hall of Fame Braves pitcher, became the 16th man in baseball history to record 3,000 strikeouts.
(Shockingly, Wikipedia has not yet been updated to reflect this information.)
He’s also the only pitcher ever to record 200 wins and 150 saves (which he was able to do because he took the closer’s role for three seasons before returning to the starting rotation in 2005). He’s an 8-time All-Star, a 24-game winner, and, by all accounts, a top-notch golfer and all-around nice guy.
He’s been pitching for my Braves as long as I can remember rooting for them, and watching the ovation he received at Turner Field tonight after #3,000 brought tears to my eyes. It also made me extra-happy that my baseball boyfriend Brian McCann is catching the game – he’s from Georgia and grew up watching Smoltz and dreaming about catching him, and that he gets to do it on such an historic night must be a great feeling for him. I found this picture a couple years ago online – Smoltz meeting McCann when he was just a kid (that’s Brian in the middle):
Kind of makes me love baseball that much more. Congratulations, John. Here’s hoping you’ve got another couple hundred left in you.