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Johnathan Andrew "John" Smoltz (born May 15, 1967) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He is best known for his prolific career of more than two decades with the Atlanta Braves, in which he garnered eight All-Star selections and received the Cy Young Award in 1996. Though predominantly known as a starting pitcher, Smoltz was converted to a reliever in 2001, following his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and spent four years as the team's closer before returning to a starting role. In 2002 he became only the second pitcher in history to have had both a 20-win season and a 50-save season (the other being Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley). He is the only pitcher in major league history to top both 200 wins and 150 saves. He became the 16th member of the 3,000 strikeout club on April 22, 2008 when he fanned Felipe Lopez of the Washington Nationals in the third inning in Atlanta.

Smoltz threw a four-seam fastball that was clocked as high as 98 miles per hour, a strong, effective slider, and an 88–91 mph split-finger fastball that he used as a strikeout pitch. He also mixed in a curveball and change-up on occasion, and in 1999, he began experimenting with both a knuckleball and a screwball, though he rarely used either in game situations.

John Smoltz was an All-State baseball and basketball player at Waverly High School in Lansing, Michigan and in college at Michigan State University before the Detroit Tigers drafted him in the 22nd round of the 1985 amateur draft. He was the 574th selection of the draft.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "John Smoltz."
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