Smoltz sets the odds on him pitching again: 50-1

Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux will be reunited -- in the press box.

Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux will be reunited -- in the press box.

So I phoned John Smoltz — now professional broadcaster and media leech — Wednesday and still couldn’t get him to utter the “r” word. Don’t know why. When a guy tells you that his “desire” to pitch “is not where it was three months ago,” it seems to me the decision has been made.

But if you’re wondering what the odds are of Smoltz actually pitching in a major league game again, think this: long shot.

“Good question,” he said, when asked what the numbers when be in a sports book. “I would say 50-1.”

Kind of long, isn’t it?

“There’s been some 50-1 horses that have won.”

Claiming race?

“Probably harness.”

I’ll say it: Smoltz is done. When I spoke to him last month, before spring training camps opened, he said he was at peace with whatever happened. But he also expressed a strong desire to extend his career. But that wasn’t the case today.

“At the end of the day, I knew I wasn’t going to get 15 offers,” he said. “I thought there might be a few teams that would have some interest. What I decided to do was stay in shape and throw, or not throw, and see what trends developed with some teams.  My desire to work out every day is still there.  But my desire to throw 50 to 70 times a day isn’t.”

Now, would that change if a team phoned Smoltz and said, “We need a fifth starter,” or, “We need a closer”? Maybe. But if that burning desire that fueled him in his career is absent now, with the season on the verge of starting, the decision really already has been made.

Smoltz again: “I think everyone understands that with the [broadcasting] role I have now, I don’t mind saying the chances [of pitching] are pretty slim. I don’t know what slim means. Maybe I make that announcement in 10 days. Maybe in 30 days. Just let me get through this week. I can’t imagine it will go on that long. But there are a lot of things swimming through my head right now.”

Final thought: There’s going to be an accidental reunion of the Braves’ great pitching rotation of Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux in a few weeks in the press box at Turner Field. The Braves play host to the Chicago Cubs in the opening series of the season. Maddux is now an assistant general manager for the Cubs. Glavine is an assistant to the president of the Braves. Smoltz will be working two of the games with Bob Costas for the MLB Network.

“There’s got to be some commercial we can get out of this,” Smoltz said.

While all three guys sit back and sing, “Glory Days.”

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and on

54 comments Add your comment

Go Braves

March 17th, 2010
2:36 pm

Bryan G.

March 17th, 2010
2:39 pm

I’m surprised someone didn’t bite and try to give Smoltz a chance. It’s sad that he has to go out with the numbers he had last year.

Go Braves

March 17th, 2010
2:40 pm

Will the three go into the hall of fame together if Smoltz retires? btw… This is my first time being first!!!! Braves are winning the wild card this year!!!


March 17th, 2010
2:58 pm

Maddux retired before Glavine, and Smoltz has yet to utter the “R” word. Therefore, Greg will be eligible for HoF induction ahead of Glav and Smoltz.


March 17th, 2010
2:59 pm

Sorry but I’m just not a big fan of Smoltz and don’t look forward to hearing him call games. I’m still upset at him trashing the Braves when he signed with the BoSox while the year before he made 15 million dollars and won 3 games for Atl. Turns out the Braves were right. Her also had to chime in when Braves dropped Glavine last year.


March 17th, 2010
3:00 pm

if the braves have a problem and start blowing saves early in the year or have a few injuries might Smolts get a call ?

Drexel Gal

March 17th, 2010
3:04 pm

As for 50-1 horses who have “won it”, don’t forget Giacomo in the 2005 Kentucky Derby. He paid $102.60 on a $2 wager, whch is 50.3-1, so some 50-1 shots have won in events other than harness and claiming races.


March 17th, 2010
3:05 pm

He shouldn’t announce retirement. He should just morph into professional golfer/JCC basketball gun for hire/ media sleaze.

I’m a big fan of Smoke and hope the media thing works out well.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

March 17th, 2010
3:07 pm

Smoltz/Glavine for manager next year- possibly??

Tech Rules

March 17th, 2010
3:12 pm

“There’s got to be some commercial we can get out of this,” Smoltz said.

It will be hard to beat “Chicks dig the long ball”:


March 17th, 2010
3:12 pm

Pitchers rarely, if ever, make good managers.


March 17th, 2010
3:23 pm

Actually braddington, glavine and maddux will be first time eligible on the same ballot, both last pitched in the majors in 2008. the clock starts ticking after the final season that your career ends. glavines minor league rehab starts last year don’t count. only major league service is considered for the HOF. Smoltz if he stays retired will be on ballot year after maddux and glavine first go on.

Mike Klein

March 17th, 2010
3:35 pm

Now that we’ve got that taken care of, what’s wrong with Nate McLouth?

Not good when your starting center fielder looks the way Nate looks right now.

F-105 Thunderchief

March 17th, 2010
3:39 pm

How come Bradley didn’t do this one? heh. heh. Thanks for the column. Glad he still talks to you.


March 17th, 2010
3:45 pm

Jeff, of those three, Maddux is a shoe – in for the Hall of Fame. Do you see the other two guys getting in as 1st ballot HOFers?

Who of the three is least likley to get in on the first try?

Paul H

March 17th, 2010
3:52 pm

Jeff – is the Count taking this week off?

Tiger Time

March 17th, 2010
3:52 pm

FIRE DONNY WAD – oh, sorry Schultz I thought you had another Hateraide article on the Thrashers.

frank wren

March 17th, 2010
4:09 pm

Told you guys I was right about Smoltz. He was great 5 years ago!

willie martinez

March 17th, 2010
4:09 pm

anyone know if TBS is still hiring???


March 17th, 2010
4:13 pm

How about a reprise of the Chicks Dig the Long Ball commercial?

Reid Adair

March 17th, 2010
4:26 pm

This is how it is supposed to be. John Smoltz’s career ends on his terms.

I wish John the best of luck as a broadcaster. I’m sure he’s going to be great.


March 17th, 2010
4:30 pm

It’s all about Billy Wagner. If and when his elbow goes out this year, the Braves make the call to Smoltz.

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March 17th, 2010
4:45 pm

Smoltz needs to join the senior PGA tour to keep busy…he’s too old for baseball-


March 17th, 2010
5:20 pm

Think Maddux and Glavine are first ballot HOF’s. Smoltz may have to wait a few years.


March 17th, 2010
5:26 pm

Johnny, Don’t give up the day job!!!


March 17th, 2010
5:28 pm

What happened to “the count”?

bass stringerfish

March 17th, 2010
5:38 pm

I don’t get the voting in on the 3rd, 4th ballot. I see it on the 2nd if the voters think they made a mistake or something. But if you are good enough to get in on the 3rd ballot, why not the first or 2nd? They are not playing anymore to pad the stats. I don’t know if there is a limit placed on the entry. But I am not following the logic. For example, I heard a natl. sportscaster talk about Dale Murphy and how he now thinks he should get in…Murph hasn’t played in 10 years or whatever. If he is good enough now, he was good enough then. Or if was not good enough then he is not ood enough now.
Finally – why wasn’t Burt Blyleven voted in? Can’t figure that one either.


March 17th, 2010
5:48 pm

he would of been a great closer – should of stayed as a closer


March 17th, 2010
5:52 pm

If the Smoltz-meister doesn’t return to the mound as a pitcher, I, for one, would like to see him visiting the mound as the Braves’ manager.

In your DREAMS

March 17th, 2010
6:57 pm

Smoltz is no way manager material.

Mr. Turnip-Green Jeans

March 17th, 2010
7:03 pm

What are the odds Smoltz won’t whine and back-stab if/when he’s cut loose as a broadcaster? Vegas wouldn’t touch that action.

Hillbilly Deluxe

March 17th, 2010
8:07 pm

Finally – why wasn’t Burt Blyleven voted in? Can’t figure that one either.

He didn’t get along well with the baseball writers. That shouldn’t matter when they vote but it does.


March 17th, 2010
8:14 pm

Glad he’s being optimistic!

[...] within the next few weeks. Smoltz hasn’t made an official announcement but his interview with Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution told it all. In that interview, Smoltz actually placed odds on himself pitching again, never a good [...]


March 17th, 2010
8:34 pm

Murphy’s exclusion makes me sick. Had he played for the Yankees, Red Sox, or Dodgers he’d have been in years ago, but I don’t think he’ll ever make it.
Doggie is first ballot, but I hope he goes in as a Brave and not a Cub.
Glav’s stint in NY helped, but I still don’t think he’ll go first time.
Smoltzie probably has to wait a year or so as well.
Chipper is a maybe. Had he not been a team player and played OF, he’d be a lock with all his numbers as a 3rd baseman.
Bobby Cox should be first ballot, but I’ll bet he ain’t.
They are all cursed to be Braves, and nationally there is a bias against us.

Ted Striker

March 17th, 2010
8:49 pm

Rumor has it that The Count drank too much “O-Positive” and has a hangover.

mark whie

March 17th, 2010
9:15 pm

John, STF up and retire already. Nobody cares if a 42 year old stilll thinks he has gas in his tank. You had your day(s) in the sun. Give it up.

Mark in Woodstock

March 17th, 2010
9:23 pm

egeagle…I disagree…..Glav gets in easy on the first ballot…check out how many wins he’s got in comparison to all lefty’s in the history of the game…he’s up there. Smoltz gets in on his body of work…saves and wins. Chip is a lock. One of the best switch hitters in the history of baseball..right up there with Eddie Murray and Mickey Mantle.


March 17th, 2010
9:28 pm

Maddux is the only non ego-maniac out of the three; funny how he was the best pitcher out of the bunch as it turned out, and the classiest and most graceful in his exit. #31 is the only Braves jersey of the three that I’ll ever wear.

hind tit

March 17th, 2010
9:40 pm

not many people get the chance that smoltz has staring him in the face. playing the game that he loves for 20 odd years and then gets the chance to be in the broadcast booth for another 25 years and gets paid big money for both.what a life.

Branch Rickey

March 17th, 2010
9:56 pm

If Smoltz couldn’t win with the Red Sox last year, it pretty much demonstrated to most teams to look elsewhere. Some players just don’t know when to hang it up. If the Braves’ season unravels earlier than expected, I would not be surprised to see Smoltz “end” his career wearing a Braves’ uniform. Anything to sell a few tickets.


March 18th, 2010
8:42 am

Maddux and Glavine are both locks for 1st ballot. They’re both 300 game winners, there is no way Glavine doesn’t go in 1st ballot. Smoltz will also be 1st ballot, no one has the wins he has along with the saves. Chipper is gonna go down as one of if the greatest switch hitters of all time. I’ve never heard a baseball writer say he’s not a 1st ballot HOFer.


March 18th, 2010
8:47 am

Branch Rickey -If Smoltz couldn’t win with the Red Sox last year, it pretty much demonstrated to most teams to look elsewhere.
Some players just don’t know when to hang it up.

Some fans just don’t know when to let it go. When pitching coaches say that Smoltz was tipping his pitches in Boston, I believe them. When it comes to Smoltz all we hear about is Boston, but when he went to St Louis and worked with Dave Duncan he got much better results. Maybe he doesn’t have anything left in the tank but you know what? That’s been said about Smoltz all his career. Everytime he got injured and needed surgery he came back just as good. A lot of people have bet against Smoltz throughout his career and they’ve all lost the bet.


March 18th, 2010
9:00 am

I hope you guys are right. I’ve enjoyed these guys careers and IMHO they are all first balloters, but even the BBWA are guided by the modern ESPN, instant clip, short attention span way of looking at baseball, and I’m not kidding about an anti-Atl attitude among many in the major media. Remember how long it took Knucksie to get in? Again, I hope you’re right


March 18th, 2010
9:56 am

Smoltz is sure HOF. Needs to give it up. Know when to say when.


March 18th, 2010
11:49 am

Smoltz is “thinking about retirement” because no major league team wants him. Pretty simple, huh?


March 18th, 2010
12:34 pm

Glory Days …….my all time favorite BB song!


March 18th, 2010
2:28 pm

Especially in light of the fact that the Braves’ bullpen already qualifies for AARP insurance coverage, it would have been worth it to give Smoltz a shot this spring. He’s through as a starter, but I believe he had 30 or so saves left–probably a lot more than Saito and Wagner combined. For one or two innings, he’d have been worth a tryout. If he has to go, however, I’m glad he’ll be broadcasting with the Braves. I look forward to hearing him.

Furman Bisher

March 18th, 2010
3:19 pm

What’s this, a second Braves article in only a month and a half? Slow down with the blinding production Schultz! What’s next- responding beyond the first page of comments? This guy is a mad man!

Has anyone seen my colostome bag?!