Signed in blue ballpoint pen on the sweet spot
Inscription: 96 CY
John Andrew Smoltz (born May 15, 1967), nicknamed "Smoltzie" and "Marmaduke," is an American former pitcher in Major League Baseball who played from 1988 to 2009, all but the last year with the Atlanta Braves. An eight-time All-Star, Smoltz – with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine – was one of a celebrated trio of starting pitchers who propelled Atlanta to perennial pennant contention in the 1990s, highlighted by a championship in the 1995 World Series. He won the National League (NL) Cy Young Award in 1996 after posting a record of 24–8, equaling the most victories by an NL pitcher since 1972. Though predominantly known as a starter, 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 set the NL record with 55 saves, and became only the second pitcher in history (joining Dennis Eckersley) to record both a 20-win season and a 50-save season. He is the only pitcher in major league history to record both 200 wins and 150 saves.
Smoltz was one of the most prominent pitchers in playoff history, posting a record of 15–4 with a 2.67 earned run average (ERA) in 41 career postseason games, and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1992 NL Championship Series; Andy Pettitte later broke his record for career postseason wins. Smoltz led the NL in wins, winning percentage, strikeouts and innings pitched twice each, and his NL total of 3,051 strikeouts ranked fifth in league history when he retired. He also holds the Braves franchise record for career strikeouts (3,011), and the record for the most career games pitched for the Braves (708) since the club's move to Atlanta in 1966; from 2004 to 2014, he held the franchise record for career saves. Smoltz left the Braves after 2008 and split his final season with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. Since retiring as a player, he has served as a color commentator and analyst on television. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015, his first year of eligibility.