St. Louis Cardinals announced Wednesday that they have agreed to terms with 1996
Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star John Smoltz on a deal that will
bring the free-agent pitcher back to the National League after a brief stint in
"We feel that this is an opportunity to strengthen our pitching staff," stated Cardinals' Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak. "When you have an opportunity to bring the expertise and experience of a future Hall of Famer to your club, it's easy to see why we are excited about the prospects of what John Smoltz can do to improve our team's chances as we approach the stretch drive."
Best known for his prolific career of more than two decades (1988-2008) with the Atlanta Braves where he was predominantly a starting pitcher, Smoltz, 42, converted to a reliever in 2001 after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery and spent four years as the Braves' closer before returning to a starting role.
In 2002 Smoltz 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 and former Cardinal Dennis Eckersley). Smoltz is the only pitcher in major league history to top both 200 wins and 150 saves. He became the 16th pitcher to reach the 3,000 career strikeout mark in April of 2008.
Smoltz, who owns a career mark of 212-151 with 154 saves and a 3.30 ERA, went 24-8 with a 2.94 ERA and 276 strikeouts in 1996 and won the National League Cy Young Award.
He set the National League saves record with 55 in 2002, his first full season as a closer and finished third in N.L. Cy Young voting. He followed that season up with 45 saves in 2003 and 44 rescues in 2004.
signed a one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox in January of 2009 and made
his first start for the Red Sox on June 25. He went 2-5 with an 8.53 ERA in eight
Smoltz is expected to join the Cardinals on Thursday and will wear uniform #30.
Update: Summary of John Mozeliak press conference remarks now posted on our free message board: link
JOHN SMOLTZ - CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS
* Eight-time All-Star (1989, 1992-93, 1996, 2002-03, 2005, 2007)
* National League Championship Series MVP (1992)
* Led the National League in Strikeouts (1992, with 215)
* National League Cy Young Award winner (1996)
* Holds Atlanta Braves record for most wins in a season (1996, with 24)
* Led the National League in wins (1996, with 24)
* Counting his wins in the playoffs and All-Star Game, John Smoltz amassed 29 wins in 1996. The only higher such total in the last 70 years is Denny McLain who had 32 in 1968.
* Holds Atlanta Braves record for most strikeouts in a season (1996, with 276)
* Led the Major Leagues in strikeouts (1996, with 276)
* Led the National League in win percentage (1996)
* Silver Slugger Award Winner for Pitcher (1997)
* Finished 4th in National League Cy Young Award voting (1998)
* Led the Major Leagues in Win Percentage (1998)
* National League Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award 2002)
* Finished 8th in National League MVP voting (2002)
* Finished 3rd in National League Cy Young Award voting (2002)
* Holds Braves record for most saves in a career (154)
* Holds Braves record for most saves in a season (2002, with 55)
* Led the National Leagues in saves (2002, with 55)
* Tied for National League lead in wins (2006, with 16)
* Only pitcher to compile 200 wins and 150 saves
* Holds Braves record for most strikeouts in a career (3,011)
* 16th pitcher in the major leagues to reach 3,000 strikeouts (April 22, 2008)