Braves to retire No. 29, bring Smoltz “full circle” – updated

It was only a matter of time before John Smoltz took his rightful place in the Braves Hall of Fame, and watched his No. 29 go up on the left field façade at Turner Field, alongside those of Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. That time will come June 8.

The club announced Monday that Smoltz’s would become only the ninth Braves jersey number retired. It will be unveiled in a ceremony before the Braves open a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, June 8 at 7:35 p.m. Smoltz will also be honored at a Hall of Fame luncheon that afternoon.

“For this to happen is an incredible feeling that has yet to sink it…,” Smoltz said Monday. “This is just something that brings to full circle what it means to be in Atlanta and to have played all those years in the Atlanta Braves organization. I bleed the uniform that I wore and hope that I honored it the best way I could.”

Smoltz will be the last of the “Big Three” to have his jersey retired in the past four years, joining his rotation mates and golf buddies Maddux, whose No. 31 went up in 2009, and Glavine, whose No. 47 went up in 2010.

“We had such an incredible run and relationship,” Smoltz said. “…I learned a whole heck of a lot, but I just had a great time. I can’t think of what life would have been like without those two, and really just every pitcher, whether it was (Steve) Avery, (Charlie) Leibrandt, (Kevin) Millwood, Pete Smith, (Denny) Neagle – you name it. We had such a great time competing and having fun.”

If Maddux was the pitching guru, and Glavine the stoic presence, Smoltz was the heart of the rotation, who wore his emotions on his sleeve throughout his career as a starter, a closer and a starter again.

“I don’t know that anybody did anything more uniquely than John in terms of being so good at two different roles,” said Glavine, who is happy to see the Braves try to figure out where to find room on the façade for No. 29, and likely Chipper Jones’ No. 10 in the not-so-distant future. “They’ve just got to keep me on the outside (like where he pitched). They’re running out of room up there. That’s a good thing.”

This jersey ceremony and Hall-of-Fame induction gives Smoltz a chance for a proper exchange with Braves fans after his awkward departure following an injury-riddled 2008 season. Smoltz didn’t have an official retirement announcement or a farewell tour of the league, after finishing his career with the Red Sox and Cardinals in 2009. He returned to Atlanta as a broadcaster in 2010.

“Honestly, that really is what this is about,” Smoltz said. “Those fans from all over, you can never thank them enough for all the support. They rode the roller coaster with me.”

The other numbers retired by the Braves are manager Bobby Cox (6), Dale Murphy (3), Phil Niekro (35), Hank Aaron (44), Eddie Mathews (41), and Warren Spahn (21). Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 is retired throughout major league baseball.

Smoltz originally wore No. 57 when he was first called up in 1988, but he was assigned No. 29 in 1989. Smoltz said he used to want to change numbers, so his would match an achievable win total to shoot for each season. He prized second baseman Mark Lemke’s No. 20 the most. That all changed in Smoltz’s Cy Young season of 1996, with a nod to Braves longtime director of team travel Bill Acree.

“When (I had) 24 wins, four postseason wins and an All-Star win, Bill Acree told me ‘29’ is achievable,” Smoltz said.

Smoltz was an eight-time All-Star in 20 seasons with the Braves, after arriving in a trade from Detroit for Doyle Alexander in August of 1987. He is the only major league pitcher to win at least 200 games and save 150.

While helping the Braves to an unprecedented 14-year postseason run from 1991 to 2005, Smoltz won 15 postseason games, the second-most in history, and struck out a record 199.

Smoltz pitched a complete game to win the division-clincher in 1991, the year the Braves went from worst to first and started the run of 14 straight. The vision of catcher Greg Olson jumping into Smoltz’s arms afterward is not only an iconic photograph for fans. For Smoltz, that moment and that day triggered a desire he had from then on to pitch and succeed in big games. He said he woke up that Oct. 5, 1991 morning realizing that the Dodgers had lost and relished in the opportunity he had that night.

“It really started a string for me of big-game moments that I was fortunate enough to pitch in,” Smoltz said. “I always wanted to be clutch.”

Smoltz delves deeper into that topic in a book he wrote with Don Yaeger which is coming out on May 8 entitled “Starting and Closing: Perseverance, Faith and One More Year.”

Smoltz, now a broadcaster with MLB Network and TBS, will be inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame at a luncheon June 8 at the Omni Hotel, which is adjacent to the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta. For more information, call 404-614-2310.

158 comments Add your comment

dawgmancw

April 16th, 2012
9:16 am

dawgmancw

April 16th, 2012
9:16 am

At last…way to go Smoltzie..

Samantha

April 16th, 2012
9:16 am

Good Morning DOB, Great work. One more time I would like to ask a very very big favor for the last time. Would you please send my Email account to NEW MEXICO LEE. I promise we will takle this love affair off line where we wont bother you again PLEASE

Rusty

April 16th, 2012
9:17 am

#10 will be next. They’re gonna run out of numbers.

tulsabravo

April 16th, 2012
9:19 am

Well deserved. Congratulations Smoltzie!

Rufio

April 16th, 2012
9:19 am

It is certainly well deserved. It was a shame how both Smoltz and Glavine were treated by Frank Wren. They both deserved better after all those great years playing for the orginization. I hope it this helps heal any bad feelings.

It was a shame to see Smoltz go out the way he did that last season with Boston and St. Louis. He did not look good in Red that is for sure! I hope this returns Smoltz to wearing a Braves uniform in the future!

PMC

April 16th, 2012
9:20 am

Finally! Well done 29!

Paul From Milton

April 16th, 2012
9:21 am

Well deserved and I’ll be there. Congratulations Smoltzie.

Wendell

April 16th, 2012
9:22 am

9th!

Bring back the Thrashers.

Fire “C-VIV!”

Sid Vicious

April 16th, 2012
9:24 am

The greatest EVER to pitch for the Braves in my Lifetime…Besides Maddox & Glavine of-course…

Chris Vivlamore

April 16th, 2012
9:26 am

Wendell: Wow! That hurts.

Sideline Dude

April 16th, 2012
9:26 am

Retire Chipper’s number & maybe he’ll take the hint.

LBC

April 16th, 2012
9:27 am

Rufio,

Do you understand how managing a limited payroll works? I’m glad the Braves took the stances they did with Smoltz and Glavine. I wish they had been half as shrewd when putting together Chipper’s last contract.

But, in any case, I’m happy for Smoltzie (even though I think retiring numbers is a ridiculous practice to begin with).

lanier

April 16th, 2012
9:27 am

always thought Smoltz was a team player ever since he relieved but the ultimate team player for the Braves will always be Chipper. Remember when he went to left field?

Larry30

April 16th, 2012
9:28 am

My favorite brave of that era, I’ll be there to salute his career. What a gamer he was.

David O'Brien

April 16th, 2012
9:28 am

#10 will be next. They’re gonna run out of numbers. — Rusty

Smoltz will be the 9th number retired by the Braves (or 10 including Jackie Robinson’s No. 42).

The Yankees have 15 retired numbers (16 including Robinson’s 42).

ATLRedMan

April 16th, 2012
9:29 am

Wren had nothing but K’s the way he handled Glavine and Smoltz’s departures. Well deserved honor for Smoltzie!

Bluestreak

April 16th, 2012
9:32 am

Wendy, I agree with you on the Thrashers, but think C-Viv should stick around to cover them when they do.

Acutally, let Wineypeg keep the Jetshers, since they still can’t make the playoffs. I say we go way back and get the Flames back. Calgary never burned and they have a better history in the playoffs.

Bluestreak

April 16th, 2012
9:33 am

And about time on Smoltze! Now, they just need a statue of Glav, Mad Dog and Smoltze together out in Memorial Grove.

Great!

April 16th, 2012
9:34 am

Chipper and Andruw are next!

Lets put the Jones boys next to each other!

Samantha

April 16th, 2012
9:35 am

Can you do this for me DOB? PLEASE

A.B. Normal

April 16th, 2012
9:42 am

Pro baseball is big business first and foremost. There will always be situations where a beloved player gets traded, waivered, etc. and the home town folks go bonkers. When an organization does the right thing by the guy in the end you can’t ask for much more. Congratulations Smoltzie!! (and thanks for the memories!)

dre

April 16th, 2012
9:42 am

Enter your comments here

Game Changer

April 16th, 2012
9:43 am

John Smoltz SHOULD BE THE BRAVES MANAGER TODAY

dre

April 16th, 2012
9:45 am

lanier – praising a pro athlete for switching positions…LOL. Yeah, that guaranteed $14 million takes a little of the pain and agony away from that difficult, stressful decision. haha.

lfp6

April 16th, 2012
9:46 am

DOB, 42 with the Yankees is actually ’semi-retired’. Mariano Rivera, their closer, was ‘grandfathered’ in as he was wearing 42 before the Great Retirement. Just so you know :)

myside

April 16th, 2012
9:47 am

Is this an honor or more of an apology for the way he was treated by the Braves front office?

mike

April 16th, 2012
9:48 am

there is no way the Braves will retire Andrum Jones number…thats just silly. Chipper…yes…smoltz..yes…..even Avery maybe but not AJ….LOL

Blindog

April 16th, 2012
9:49 am

Samantha if it were up to you ,who would you want to trade for, who do you think Wren needs to go after?

Chief Knockerhoma

April 16th, 2012
9:50 am

Long Overdue! Congrats to Smoltzie.

Save room out there for #10. Maybe they should retire his at the same time as Smoltz!

Big Lou

April 16th, 2012
9:51 am

*SMH* @ the lonely men that pretend to be women. Attention is overrated.

Go Bravos!!! Make it 6 in a row!

Samantha

April 16th, 2012
9:55 am

Blinddog, NObody

Rebel Brave

April 16th, 2012
9:58 am

Just thinking… What will the Yankees do when they retire Mariano’s #42?

Sleeze

April 16th, 2012
9:58 am

Rick Camp’s number will be next..

2012

April 16th, 2012
10:00 am

Smoltz for President 2012! Chipper for VP!

2012

April 16th, 2012
10:00 am

Enter your comments here

Blindog

April 16th, 2012
10:02 am

Good answer,girl we will win with the team we have!

zgoldatl

April 16th, 2012
10:04 am

Just bought my tickets for the 6th of June. Way to go Smoltzie, you deserve it

Samantha

April 16th, 2012
10:07 am

Of couse we will Go Braves

Ed Whited

April 16th, 2012
10:10 am

Jackie Robinson? I thought the #42 hanging out there was Rick Mahler’s retired number.

reckingball

April 16th, 2012
10:14 am

myside,AtlRedMan,Rufio………Other than not paying Smoltz a ridiculous amount of money when they thought his pitching days might be over, WHAT did the Braves do to Smoltz, or how did they mistreat him?

Samantha

April 16th, 2012
10:23 am

Good Morning reckingball

jimp

April 16th, 2012
10:27 am

Retiring #’s used to mean they were never to be used, but these days they un-retire them to snag big free agents. Still a well earned gesture from the Braves.

bravesgrl4life

April 16th, 2012
10:33 am

As soon as I saw this, I went ahead and got tickets ordered. My niece will be here by then and hopefully be able to go with me. If not, I’ll find someone in my Braves circle that will be willing to sit in Section 205 :)

bravesgrl4life

April 16th, 2012
10:34 am

And, Samantha, it was Carroll Rogers who wrote this blog, not DOB.

Samantha

April 16th, 2012
10:36 am

Hey braves girl

THE MAJOR

April 16th, 2012
10:36 am

I am happy that the Braves are retiring his number. Also the truth is the Braves made a wise decision to let Smoltz go when they thought he was through. The Red Sox and Cardinals found out quickly what the Braves had already known.

Covin

April 16th, 2012
10:37 am

zgoldatl – You may want to check your ticket order. Smoltz’s number will be retired on June 8th, not the 6th.

derek b

April 16th, 2012
10:49 am

When will Wren wake up and let Chad Durbin go? 3 HRs in 3 appearances this season? This guy will be a HUGE liability to the Braves if he’s put in a close game…

The Blogger Formerly Known as Billy

April 16th, 2012
10:53 am

think AJ gets his number retired here?

dood

April 16th, 2012
10:53 am

#55 will be next. KPowers!

AzCat

April 16th, 2012
10:58 am

Andrew Jones?!? Steve Avery??!?!!? Just goes to show how devalued retiring numbers would get if you let bloggers make the decisions. Well deserved in Smoltzie’s case. Congrats and kudos!

Dave P

April 16th, 2012
10:59 am

Was eagerly waiting for this announcement and just bought my tickets. I’ve been in the building for Maddux, Glavine, and Cox, and will be there for Chip next year. I think it will be a long time before we see any more.

AzCat

April 16th, 2012
10:59 am

Andruw…..my bad.

Dave P

April 16th, 2012
11:00 am

Oh, and please fire Chad Dur-Brink. Learn from your mistakes, Wren.

Hmmmmmmmm

April 16th, 2012
11:01 am

He is an arrogant SOB! He is NOT Hall of Fame material, just a little better than average Major league pitcher….

Spider29

April 16th, 2012
11:09 am

Congratulations to Smoltzie! I “adopted” him after his first start for the Braves and he became my favorite Brave. Since I moved out of Georgia, I’ve only been able to attend a couple of games but I have already ordered tickets for John’s jersey retirement ceremony. He deserves this honor.

Josh Hogan

April 16th, 2012
11:10 am

Never have another smoltzie……….

David O'Brien

April 16th, 2012
11:12 am

He is NOT Hall of Fame material, just a little better than average Major league pitcher…. — Hmmmm

Add a few more m’s to your name, while you’re at it. With all due respect, it’d make as much sense as that comment.

joekill

April 16th, 2012
11:12 am

congrads to Smoltzie

Rusty

April 16th, 2012
11:13 am

David, I was referring to Chipper by #10, not the number of jersey’s we’ve retired.

ChrisfromSacramento,Ca

April 16th, 2012
11:17 am

Well deserved. Just booked my tickets for my flight and game tix for that weekend.

The Braves do a great job with these ceramonies. I loved the Maddux, Glavine, and Cox nights and I wont miss this one.

Larry

April 16th, 2012
11:18 am

Samantha,

Are you this dumb? If DOB gives to anyone someone’s personal information and either you or the lover you seek turn out to be a serial killer where does this leave Dave and the AJC?

Grow up or go away…and for goodness sakes stop sounding like a desperate airhead!

Samantha

April 16th, 2012
11:21 am

Mind your own Business Larry

elainer7

April 16th, 2012
11:31 am

Its about time! Thanks Smoltzie for all of the memories!

g

April 16th, 2012
11:32 am

samantha’s a wack job

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ

April 16th, 2012
11:33 am

congrats; overdue. well deserved. the order and timing of the big 3 getting to cooperstown is going to be interesting.

Hmmmmmmmm

April 16th, 2012
11:34 am

@Dave,

Ok, how many m’s would you like? I stand by my assertion that he is NO Hall of Famer… I guess time will tell…. and I have been wrong in the past….

I am 100 percent right about his arrogance…. That’s from personal encounters with the guy…

George

April 16th, 2012
11:35 am

Moeman

April 16th, 2012
11:35 am

Larry – desperate airhead she may be. Most likely a dude with no life.
Samantha – again go away. Your bogus act is old and tired.

Dwayne

April 16th, 2012
11:39 am

Yea Larry…mind your own business…If Samantha is looking for another Ted Bundy then let her look!!!

Samantha

April 16th, 2012
11:42 am

Thank you Dwayne

Fragile Bob Horner

April 16th, 2012
11:47 am

I am still waiting for my number to be retired!

Brave Decisions

April 16th, 2012
11:47 am

What to do with Chad http://wp.me/p2lqJ1-49 New at Brave Decisions.

TheOnlyBravesFan

April 16th, 2012
11:58 am

Bravesgrl, I’m willing to come sit in 205…. ain’t that bad…. LOL

This is well deserved for Smoltzie, glad it has finally happened.

Chsamp

April 16th, 2012
12:04 pm

Andruw Jones is not entirely ridiculous, despite the fact that he failed to live up to his potential. 368 HR, 10 consecutive GG’s, 5-time All-Star. He is at least worthy of consideration.

Hmmmmm is super smart

April 16th, 2012
12:05 pm

Regular: 213 wins, 154 saves, 3.33 era, 1.176 whip, 3084 Ks, 3473 innings pitched in 21 seasons.
Post Season: 15-4, 4 saves, 2.67 era, 1.14 whip, 199 ks, 209 innings pitched. Cy Young, world champion.

Wow, if Hmmmm is correct the average MLB pitcher must be good to only be a little below those stats, especially when you consider that the average MLB pitcher has a career of 6 years or less.

Hmmmmm is super smart

April 16th, 2012
12:07 pm

Oh and Ty Cobb is in the Hall of Fame, so I don’t think arrogance is a bar from admission

Phillip

April 16th, 2012
12:08 pm

I grew up watching these guys (Maddux, Glavine, Smoltzy, Chipper, Walt Weiss, Keith Lockhart, Andres Galaragga, Michael Tucker, Ryan Klesko, Javy Lopez and Eddie Perez).

I still can’t believe we only won 1 WS. But it was a great ride.

I went to the Maddux retirement ceremony, Glavine’s retirement ceremony, and Bobby’s! I’ll defnitely be there for Smoltzy’s. And next will be Chippers!

reckingball

April 16th, 2012
12:14 pm

Chsamp 12:04………”despite the fact that he failed to live up to his potential.”
When the fact that Andruw failed to live up to his potential, was due to indolence, then IMO, I would say no, he does not deserve the honor of having his number retired.
But like I say, just my opin.
Beat the Mutts! Go Braves!
goodday.

Jay

April 16th, 2012
12:15 pm

WELL overdue. Congrats Smoltzie, you earned it and then some. Hall of Famer.

Skeeterleg

April 16th, 2012
12:31 pm

I was standing outside a game when I was 15 or 16 where the players drive out. Smoltz jumped out of his car while waiting for the light to change and pull into traffic. He signed some cards for us and a handful of others while his wife was urging him to hurry the heck up and get back in the car. Didn’t seem arrogant at all to me…just offering my experience.

Skip & Pete Fan

April 16th, 2012
12:33 pm

Not sure I want to know exactly what’s goin on, but I’m curious as to the tv deal everyone’s talking about. I haven’t seen the details. Anyone know what’s going on?

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2012
12:34 pm

“Chipper and Andruw are next!”

They already gave Andruw’s number to Francisco. I agree, though. Andruw did enough to get his jersey retired.

Andruw as a Brave: .839 OPS, 368 HR, 1117 RBI, 1683 H, 1045 R
Dale Murphy as a Brave: .829 OPS, 371 HR, 1143 RBI, 1901 H, 1103 R

Not much of a difference in my opinion. And that doesn’t take into account Andruw’s fantastic defense.

Mountain Man

April 16th, 2012
12:43 pm

Here’s one DOB…to make up for the lowsy treatment he received on the way out the Brave’s can announce that Smoltz will be taking Chip Carey’s place in the booth effective immediately upon the hanging of said jersey.

jw

April 16th, 2012
12:45 pm

To the person fussing about letting bloggers decide what numbers to retire – the person posting Jones/Avery could have really peed you off and said Andy Messersmith and Pascual Perez – the former the Patron Saint of Free Agency and the latter the Patron Saint of Directionally Impaired!!!!!

Don’t go postal on a Monday – have fun with this!

Bo

April 16th, 2012
12:51 pm

Congrats Smoltzie, you were a joy to watch on the mound. Now, can we trade Carey for Smoltz in the booth? What an improvement that would be.

reckingball

April 16th, 2012
1:01 pm

Still curious as to why people think that Smoltz got lousey treatment, on his way out from the Braves organization?

USAF92

April 16th, 2012
1:01 pm

Well damn. In my excitement to see that Chad Homer A Day Durbin had been released I just got Rick Rolled. Shameful.

Chip Carey's Mama

April 16th, 2012
1:04 pm

MM @12:43…..Stop picking on my boy.
That is a terrible idea.
The Braves gave Smoltz a chance to start a broadcasting career, when it is obvious that he has no talent for it.

Spider29

April 16th, 2012
1:04 pm

I met and talked to Smoltz several times. Each time he was very nice and signed autographs and let us take pictures with him. Maybe he can come across as arrogant but that was definitely not my experience in meeting him. John was my favorite of the big three and I loved watching him pitch. John Smoltz deserves the honor of having his number retired, just as his mound mates did. I will be there on June 9 to see it!

J-MAN

April 16th, 2012
1:06 pm

I think Smoltz if you give him a month to get back in Major League Shape could still pitch and throw about 95 mph. He would be better than Chad Durbin for sure

reckingball

April 16th, 2012
1:08 pm

reckingball

April 16th, 2012
1:10 pm

I would be surprised if he is not inducted into the HOF.

LJ

April 16th, 2012
1:12 pm

Yankees will have no trouble retiring 42 for Mariano, they have already retired number 8 twice. Once for Yogi and the other for Bill Dickey, they both wore 8 and Yankees retired it twice.

64 year Braves fan

April 16th, 2012
1:13 pm

John Smoltz a great pitcher who will soon be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Darrell

April 16th, 2012
1:16 pm

Can they not retire 2 numbers in the same season? Smoltz retired a good while ago.

urban redneck

April 16th, 2012
1:17 pm

wonder if john rocker is next.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 16th, 2012
1:19 pm

The fake MLB URL was a nice touch on that Rickroll.

bravesfan#829

April 16th, 2012
1:21 pm

I alway thought Smoltzie was one of the best big game/ playoff pitchers ever. His postseason numbers are incredible. I think power pitchers do better in the playoffs and world series. If Smoltzie had been the #1 starter in some of those series instead of #3, I believe we would have won more than 1 World Series.

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