John Smoltz’s Big League Debut

It came on July 23, 1988, against the Mets at Shea Stadium. The outing augured well for his career: Smoltz allowed just four hits through eight innings in a 6-1 win over the Mets. Catcher Ozzie Virgil: ”We just might have found ourselves another pitcher.”

Smoltz just said: ”I slept O.K. last night. Before I went out today, the guys told me to throw the first pitch for a strike and don’t look back. I just didn’t want to get clobbered. In my mind, I tried not to give them too much credit as a team. I just tried to imagine they were some Triple A team. It wasn’t that easy.”

The Mets were having an Old Timers game, and Smoltz said: ”All day, I tried not to think about everything that was going on. A couple of times, I went out and took a peek at the old-timers. But that’s when I started to shake. I got out of there quick.”

The first strikeout was of Darryl Strawberry, looking, in the seventh inning, and Smoltz added a strikeout of Howard Johnson too. HoJo said: ”I’m sure there will be a million excuses why we didn’t win. But the guy did pitch a good game.”

Smoltz watched Bruce Sutter close out the game in the ninth. He said about that: ”I didn’t mind in the least. With Bruce out there, I just couldn’t wait for it to be over and to go out and get that ball.”

Published in: on April 19, 2009 at 6:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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