Tale of Smoltz's journey to be told on MLB Network special
ATLANTA -- Since being elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame, John Smoltz has had numerous opportunities to reminisce about the highs and lows he experienced on the way to becoming one of the most unique and successful pitchers of his generation.
Portions of his journey will be chronicled within "Hall of Fame Pitchers: Smoltz & Pedro," the fourth installment of "MLB Network Presents," which will premiere on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.
After providing a behind-the-scenes look at how Martinez reacted the moment he learned he had been elected to the Hall, the one-hour show will air footage of a recent interview Smoltz shared with Matt Vasgersian at Foley's, the popular baseball-themed bar in the heart of Manhattan.
The witty and versatile Vasgersian has some fun with Smoltz as he reminds him of his struggles against the likes of Mickey Morandini and fellow pitcher David Cone. The exchange leads Smoltz to reminisce about a home run he surrendered to Dwight Gooden during the 1993 season.
"If you haven't hit a home run in 1,500 at-bats, I'm giving it up," Smoltz said to Vasgersian. "I probably, in my mind, gave up more first hits of people's career than anyone on my staff or maybe more than anybody in baseball."
Although this lighthearted assertion is likely not true, Smoltz can take great pride in the fact that he is the only pitcher in Major League history to notch 200 career wins and 150 saves. He also enhanced his Cooperstown resume by going 15-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 41 postseason appearances (27 starts). Smoltz's .789 playoff winning percentage is trumped only by Curt Schilling's .846 among pitchers who have made at least 10 playoff starts.
In addition to discussing his postseason success and the risky transition he made from starter to closer after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2000, Smoltz tells Vasgersian that he wants to affect the next generation of players during the Hall of Fame speech he will deliver during July's induction ceremony.
"I want it to be, obviously, filled with humility, but I am going to take this moment to make a point to the crowd, to have an opportunity to use this as something the crowd and parents and adults can hear and listen to and get something out of, because that's the one impact I'll be able to have," Smoltz said. "I want to make sure all the right people are thanked, but at the same time, I want to define not only who I was and what you can be, [but] change the culture of this next generation that's coming up that either desires to one day be on that stage or just wants to be a baseball player."