Tag: Tom Glavine
Smoltz was originally drafted in the 22nd round of the 1985 draft by the Detroit Tigers and was the return the Braves got when they sent pitcher Doyle Alexander to the Tigers on August 12, 1987. Alexander helped the Tigers to a division crown in 1987, but he was out of baseball two years later. Smoltz went on to become one of the most successful starters-converted-to-closers since Dennis Eckersley. He pitched for two decades in Atlanta, winning 210 games, saving 154 more, making 8 All-Star games, winning a Cy Young award, and even getting himself a Silver Slugger. This is why you never, EVER trade pitchers with the Braves.
Though Smoltz was an amazing pitcher in Atlanta, he was always overshadowed by the arms of Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. Unless, of course, he was pitching against the Cubs. If Bobby Cox wasn’t setting his rotation to get Smoltz as many starts as possible against the Northsiders, then Bobby Cox isn’t as brilliant a manager as everyone says he is.
Against the Cubs, Smoltz was nigh-unbeatable. Smoltz made 30 starts and pitched basically a season’s worth of innings (208 2/3) against the Cubs. In that stretch, he compiled a 15-5 record, struck out 175 Cub hitters, and walked only 64. Smoltz’s .750 winning percentage against the Cubs was better than it was against any other opponent with a minimum of 5 starts. Yeah, yeah. Wins is a terrible way to judge pitchers. Tell that to the Cubs who were facing Smoltz. The 4 shutouts Smoltz threw against the Cubs were more than he had against any other opponent. His best year against the Cubs was 1992, when he faced them 4 times and went 3-1 with a microscopic 0.90 ERA. He also struck out 29 Cubs in 30 innings while allowing only 20 hits. Statistically, the Cubs had less of a chance of beating Smoltz than an iron did. More on that later.
Smoltz pitched for 20 years in Atlanta before retiring after a 2009 season spent with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. For a pitcher to (1) pitch for 20 years, (2) pitch for 20 years with the same team, and (3) pitch WELL for 20 years with the same team is probably the reason lazy broadcasters have given him the honorary title of “gunslinger.” Also, because gunslingers wear hats, and John Smoltz should never, ever NOT wear a hat.
Why You Should Hate Him: You could take your pick of one of his four shutouts. Personally, I like the first link where he struck out 13 Cubs. Or maybe you’re partial to the second one, when he beat Greg Maddux. But the postseason is where Smoltz REALLY killed the Cubs. The Cubs were riding the high of barely squeaking into the 1998 NLDS against the Braves. Unfortunately, Jim Riggleman had no choice but to start Mark Clark in Game One. Bobby Cox, on the other hand, didn’t bother setting his rotation to face the Cubs, since the 17-3 Smoltz was his “third” option for Game One. Smoltz pitched 7 2/3 innings of 1-run baseball, allowing only an eighth-inning solo home run by Tyler Houston and striking out 6 Cubs. Clark was surprisingly good, but the 2 earned runs he surrendered were two too many. The Braves beat the Cubs 7-1 on their way to a 3-game NLDS sweep.
By the way, even though Smoltz had a 6.00 ERA in the 2003 NLDS rematch, he still went 1-0 with a save. So, why you should hate Smoltz is THE POSTSEASON. The postseason is the answer.
Speaking of the postseason, remember when it used to start at the end of September? No? Me neither.
Did You Know? Smoltz has long been connected to an incident in which he burned himself while trying to iron a shirt that he was wearing. Well, the whole story is nonsense. At least according to Smoltz. Because, really, who the hell would cop to that story if it WAS true?
Ed. Note: When I’m long gone from this world and tales are told of what I did to make a difference in this life, no one will have an answer that doesn’t, at some point, use the phrase “dick joke.” Whether I leave a legacy in the expanding world of penis jokes or not, though, I certainly don’t want to leave any unfinished business. Therefore, I’m rededicating myself to counting
down up The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time. Love it or hate it, you and I WILL get through it. Together. (“Don’t You Forget About Me” swells in the background.) Now, let’s put lipstick on this pig.
The year is 2010. The Cubs are preparing for the start of another baseball season. Excitement is in the air in Chicago as the weather begins to warm and our hopeless hearts begin to thaw. Somewhere, Jeff Fassero is miraculously only 47 years old. How? How is this possible? Jeff Fassero was 45 years old when he played with the Cubs nearly a decade ago. Yet Jeff Fassero endures. He survives. He creaks. He drives slowly. He wears cardigan sweaters even in hot weather. He gets up twice in the middle of the night to pee. He checks in at #51 on The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time.
I’m going to be honest here. Ryan Klesko didn’t particularly kill the Cubs any more than he did any other team. He didn’t rise to the occasion against Cub pitching. He didn’t perform well in Wrigley Field. In fact, Klesko was actually worse against the Cubs than his career averages suggest he should have been. In fact, Klesko helped the Cubs quite a bit, as he performed well against many of the Cubs’ NL Central opponents. But in the world of irrational hatred, none of that matters. For not only did Ryan Klesko have one outstandingly Cub-killing moment in his career, but I also just flat-out fucking hate him. For that reason, his whiny bitch-ass checks in as #59 of the Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time.