Glavine, Cox welcome Smoltz to the Hall
ATLANTA -- Bobby Cox fondly remembers the day he promoted John Smoltz from the Minors to join a Braves rotation that already included Tom Glavine. Nearly three decades later, Cox finds himself gleefully celebrating the fact that Smoltz, Glavine and their longtime Atlanta rotation mate, Greg Maddux, are once again part of the same group.
When Smoltz went to Cooperstown this past July to watch Cox, Glavine and Maddux gain induction into Baseball's Hall of Fame, he began preparing himself for the possibility that he might gain this same great honor this upcoming summer.
Possibility became reality on Tuesday afternoon, when Smoltz learned he had been elected to become a part of this same elite group. He will be immortalized with Cox, Glavine and Maddux during the Hall of Fame ceremonies in July.
"I'm thrilled for him and what it means for him and his career," Glavine said. "I'm excited for what this next year will mean for him. It's much deserved."
Smoltz will be inducted with Craig Biggio and two of the other most dominant pitchers of his generation -- Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez.
"When [Smoltz] was on the mound you thought of him being in that same category as Pedro and Randy," Cox said. "You always thought you were going to win a ballgame. The big games, the postseason and those games near the end of the season, you always felt you were going to win when Smoltzie was on the mound."
Smoltz's unique Hall of Fame resume was highlighted by the success he had both as a starting pitcher and during his brief stint as a closer. He stands as the only pitcher in Major League history to have won at least 200 games and notched at least 150 saves.
"He was just a great competitor," Glavine said. "Whatever role he was fulfilling, whether it be a starting pitcher or closer, you knew you were going to get a great effort. You knew you'd get all that he had. It speaks to his talent, but also to his mindset in terms of that mindset, that he did both roles so well.
"In either role, he was considered one of the best in the game when he was doing it. That tells you what he was about. I think anybody who has been in the game knows that's not an easy thing to do."
Smoltz considers himself lucky to have spent a majority of his career playing with Maddux and Glavine in Atlanta. The three accounted for seven of the eight National League Cy Young Awards that were presented from 1991-98.
"People used to ask me what it's like to play with the two best pitchers in the game. I said, 'It's a blast,' and it really was," Smoltz said.
Glavine, Maddux and Cox will once again have a chance to have some fun together this summer, when Smoltz heads to Cooperstown to experience baseball's greatest honor.
"The common message from all of the returning Hall of Famers last year was, 'Enjoy it and next year when you come back, it will be more relaxed and more fun,'" Glavine said. "So I've been looking forward to that. But now, to be able to do that my first time and have Smoltzie going in, that's going to be a lot of fun."