Dan's Dugout: Glavine can't wait for Smoltz Speech • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Glavine can’t wait for Smoltz Speech

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COOPERSTOWN — The last time Tom Glavine set foot in Cooperstown, he shared the stage with Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa.

Tom Glavine won two Cy Youngs and a World Series MVP award

Tom Glavine won two Cy Youngs and a World Series MVP award

He also saw John Smoltz covering the 2014 induction for MLB Network and couldn’t resist commenting about his long-gone hair.

Now Smoltz, Glavine’s long-time teammate with the Atlanta Braves, has a golden opportunity to get even. He even admitted to USA TODAY Sports that getting even with Glavine and fellow quipster Greg Maddux was the easiest part of writing the induction speech he will give Sunday.

Glavine, Maddux, and Smoltz were the driving force behind the record 14 straight division titles won by the Braves from 1991-2005. They were together more than a decade, though Smoltz spent some of those seasons as a closer.

“John’s stuff was electric across the board,” said Glavine, now a Braves broadcaster. “He threw hard, had a dominating slider, and was more of a power pitcher. Greg and I had to rely on location and changing speeds. John did that too but did it with an above-average fastball and one of the best sliders in the game.

“We all had our ways to be successful. We figured it out. John certainly figured it out. That slider was the envy of a lot of people in baseball, myself included.”

Smoltz, one of four players to be inducted this year, is the only pitcher with at least 200 wins and 150

John Smoltz and Latino Sports baseball editor Dan Schlossberg

John Smoltz and Latino Sports baseball editor Dan Schlossberg

saves. He went from starting to closing and back again without missing a beat.

He’s also the only man to reach Cooperstown after having Tommy John surgery as well as the highest draft pick (22nd round) to reach the Hall of Fame.

“He was one of the best starters in the game but also one of the best closers,” Glavine said of Smoltz. “It’s one thing to go back and forth between those two roles but it’s another thing to do it at the level he did. He had the stuff to be great at both and the mentality to be great at both.”

Smoltz pitched best under pressure, posting a 15-4 mark in postseason play. “Game 7 of the 1991 World Series is the game where he really started to define himself as a big-game pitcher,” Glavine said. “He pitched a lot of big games. If I couldn’t be on the mound in a game that was important, I wanted John to be out there. You knew he was going to give you an opportunity to win the game and would rise to the occasion.”

John Smoltz won 29 games in 1996

John Smoltz won 29 games in 1996

A reputation as a clubhouse hypochondriac never interfered with Smoltz, who won the National League’s Cy Young Award in 1996. He won 29 games that year, including the All-Star Game and four in the postseason. Smoltz missed a 30-win year when Andy Pettitte beat him, 1-0, in the World Series.

“The joke in the clubhouse was that if Smoltz came in on the day he was pitching and said something was wrong with him, we knew he was going to have a great game,” Glavine said. “When he came in and said nothing was wrong, we were worried. He was one of those guys who wore his emotions on his sleeve. He let you know what was going on.”

Glavine, who had five 20-win seasons en route to a career total of 305 victories, was one of the best lefthanders in baseball history. Only Warren Spahn, Eddie Plank, and Steve Carlton won more often.

Maddux, a model of consistency, won 355 games, more than any postwar pitcher except for Warren

Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux teamed with John Smoltz is a rotation for the ages

Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux teamed with John Smoltz in a rotation for the ages

Spahn. His 18 Gold Gloves helped.

Now both are bracing for whatever Smoltz dishes out. He’s a devious man when it comes to a prank.

“There’s no question in my mind there’s going to be something coming our way,” Glavine said. “We opened the door and I’m sure that’s a door John is going to walk through.”

Glavine, who won two Cy Youngs and a World Series MVP award, revealed that his wife provided Induction Weekend logistical tips to Mrs. Smoltz.

“My only advice to him was not to sit down and write the whole speech at once,” said Glavine. “Just write stuff down when you think of it and it will all come together. My understanding is he’s got a pretty good grip on his speech and I’m looking forward to it.”

Things nobody knows about the 2015 Induction Class:

Randy Johnson broke into the bigs with the Expos

Randy Johnson broke into the bigs with the Expos

Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez both pitched for the Montreal Expos but were never teammates . . .

John Smoltz owned a 5-4 record against Martinez in 11 starts but never faced Johnson . . .

Smoltz led the National League in wins and saves in different seasons . . .

Johnson once fanned 20 men in a nine-inning game without getting the win . . .

Martinez once pitched a nine-inning perfect game but gave up a hit in the tenth . . .

Craig Biggio made the NL All-Star team as both a catcher and second baseman . . .

Third time's the charm for Craig Biggio

Third time’s the charm for Craig Biggio

He also hit more doubles than any righthanded hitter in baseball history . . .

Martinez finished his career with the Philadelphia Phillies . . .

Johnson and Maddux are the only pitchers to win four straight Cy Young Awards . . .

Smoltz wore No. 3 in Little League because he idolized Detroit shortstop Alan Trammell . . .

Martinez will double the population of Dominicans in the Hall of Fame, joining boyhood idol Juan Marichal . . .

The only man with more lifetime strikeouts than Johnson is incumbent Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan . . .

Johnson pitched no-hitters in both leagues but neither Smoltz nor Martinez ever pitched one . . .

Nolan Ryan's advice helped Randy Johnson's career

Nolan Ryan’s advice helped Randy Johnson’s career

Johnson credits an off-season talk with Ryan for turning his career around . . .

An accomplished photographer, Johnson plans to bring a camera on-stage for his induction ceremony.

 

 

 

 

 

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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