Smoltz overcame odds to get to 3,000 strikeouts
And though a shoulder injury cost him most of the rest of the season, Smoltz’s final campaign with the Atlanta Braves will always be remembered for his 3,000th strikeout.
His contract with Atlanta expired following the 2008 season, and Smoltz signed a free agent deal with the Red Sox. He went 2-5 with an 8.33 ERA with Boston in eight starts before being released on Aug. 17. He would catch on with the Cardinals two days later, going 1-3 with a 4.26 ERA in seven starts before making one relief appearance in the NLDS vs. the Dodgers.
It would be the final game of his career. Smoltz remains the only pitcher in history with at least 200 wins (213) and 150 saves (154). He finished with 3,084 strikeouts over 21 seasons.
“I gave it everything I had every single time I went out there,” Smoltz told the AP. “Whether I was 70 percent or 100 percent, I gave it everything I had.”
Smoltz was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2015.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum