A HOF debut, 27 years ago tonight

The Braves entered play on July 23, 1988 30 games under .500, facing crafty southpaw Bob Ojeda and the first-place Mets. If that wasn’t daunting enough, John Smoltz made his MLB debut backed by a historically abysmal defense. Ron Gant and Andres Thomas were probably the worst double play combo ever, and Jerry Royster had no…

John Smoltz owns August 19

Nine years ago on this date, Smoltzie recorded his 142nd save as a Brave, breaking Gene Garber’s franchise record. Three years later, on 8/19/07, the future Hall of Famer retired Mark Reynolds for his 2,913th K as a Brave, surpassing Knucksie to become the team’s all-time strikeout leader. Safe to say no other pitcher holds…

Maddux slighted again, and was Smoltzie better than Glavine?

I’m thrilled that the last pitcher chosen in ESPN’s ranking of the 100 greatest players in MLB history is the perpetually underrated Knucksie, #100 overall. Not so much with the highest-ranked pitcher: Roger Clemens. ESPN cautions its list is a “judgment-free zone where Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and even Pete Rose are welcome.” (Rose debased the game but earned every one of his…

The silver anniversary of the best trade in Braves history

A bad trade set up the best deal the Braves ever made, consummated Aug. 12, 1987. On July 6, 1986, the Braves, 4 games out of first, traded promising right-hander Duane Ward for 35-year-old sourpuss Doyle Alexander, who was hardly a difference-maker. The Bravos finished in last place, while Ward would go on to save…

No. 29

Stat geeks roll their eyes at the concept of a clutch performer, which tells me they must have never watched John Smoltz — whose number will be retired June 8 — pitch in October. In 209 postseason innings, Smoltzie had a better ERA, WHIP, winning percentage and K/9 IP ratio. That’s not a coincidence. It’s clutch,…

Five HOF’ers in one decade

Here’s a question I hope someone with the time and inclination can answer: The news of Chipper’s retirement means the Braves, in all likelihood, will send four players and one manager to Cooperstown in one decade. Has any franchise ever produced five Hall of Famers inducted in such a short span of time? They may…

The baseball Madden

I missed Bobby this year. I also missed Smoltzie in the broadcast booth. I’m not one for hyperbole but I can’t remember a better analyst than Number 29. Twice this series he’s called a play the pitch before it happened (Delmon Young’s homer off BMF in Game 3 and the loud out in the first…

The most anticipated debut since Avery

It’s generally agreed that Julio Teheran has more potential than any Braves-grown pitcher since Steve Avery. Certainly there was a lot of buzz around Tommy Hanson’s first start, but mmmBop was a late-blooming prospect. We’ve been hearing about Teheran since he signed as a 16-year-old out of Colombia. So far he’s lived up to the…

Smoltz and Ernie Johnson back with the Braves

As in Ernie Jr., who will be calling 45 Braves games on Peachtree TV this season along with Smoltzie and Joe Simpson. That’ll be a nice respite from Chip. Smoltzie is also going to work with TBS on the network’s game of the week telecasts. No word on whether a retirement announcement is forthcoming.

Worst-case scenario

Kris Medlen would most likely be called upon as fifth starter if, God forbid, JJ’s sore right arm proves serious. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but Medlen has the stuff to win 15 games — not that anyone could easily replace Jurrjens. (And would John Smoltz be a candidate to replace Medlen in…

Smoltzie to the Mets?

Ken Rosenthal says Minaya is targeting Smoltz after losing out on Ben Sheets. Smoltzie, and the Mets, must be desperate. –CB

Smoltzie back at The Ted?

Next weekend the Fish come to Atlanta for a huge series. Don’t be surprised if they bring a familiar reinforcement. Smoltz, pitching AGAINST the Braves, in a pivotal late-season series? I don’t think the Marlins can resist. St. Louis is also interested, but Florida needs him more. –CB

Smoltzie DFA’d

I guess Frank Wren was right. Still, hate to see Smoltzie go out like this.

Already impatient with No. 29

Judging from the comments here, some Red Sux fans are already for sending Smoltz to the bullpen. It would be interesting to see how he would react to such a move.

Smoltz won’t pitch at The Ted

He’ll make his Red Sox debut the night before Boston visits Atlanta, and that’s probably a good thing for both the Bravos and Smoltzie. –CB

Smoltz on Glavine release

I’m thrilled with the McLouth deal and excited about Hanson’s debut. Still, I pretty much agree with Smoltzie‘s take on his friend’s release: “That’s not how you treat people,” Smoltz said after Boston’s 10-5 victory over Detroit on Wednesday. “He didn’t have a chance to fail at that level. … That’s not how you go…

This date in Braves history

One year ago tonight, Smoltzie struck out his 3000th batter. The Braves lost 6-0 to the Nats’ after the ‘pen allowed five runs in the 8th and 9th. Same as it ever was. –CB (thanks to Walter Murphy for the reminder)

“Smoltz — who the hell is he?”

Interesting piece about the genesis of the Smoltz for Alexander deal. “The Atlanta Braves would take either (Steve) Searcy or Smoltz. When I asked various people, the consensus was (to keep) Searcy. The consensus was that he was closer (to the majors),” said (then Tigers-GM Bill) Lajoie. “I didn’t feel like I was on real…

“as if they were negotiating with Carl Pavano”

That’s how veteran scribe Murray Chass describes the Braves’ dealings with John Smoltz. His reporting is the most thorough I’ve read and confirms much of what we suspected about the braintrust. Key points: The Braves offered Smoltz a one-year contract with a $2 million salary and a potential $8 million in bonuses, much of them…