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Appreciating The Amazing John Smoltz

You can make an argument that John Smoltz is among the greatest pitchers of all-time given his numbers both as a starting pitcher and closer. We will never see another pitcher record upwards of 200 wins and 150 saves, and conventional wisdom leads you to believe that no pitcher will ever come close to accomplishing this feat.

We have some pretty incredible numbers on Smoltz after the jump.

During his 21-year career, almost all of which was spent in Atlanta, Smoltz was worth 82.5 WAR (Wins Above Replacement; read more here) tying him 8th best in baseball history with Bert Blyleven.

In the last 50 years, among pitchers with 2,000 innings -- Smoltz logged 3,473 throughout his career -- his ERA of 3.31 ranks in the top-40. With 3,084 strikeouts, Smoltz ranks 14th among pitchers with the same criteria. And he still managed to put up these numbers despite multiple arm surgeries and a move to the bullpen for four years, just to return to the starting rotation once again for three more highly-successful seasons.

We will never see a pitcher quite like John Smoltz for as long as we live, and retiring his number at Turner Field is just the start of many more accolades to pile on. He is headed to Cooperstown one day, and for my money, he won't be on the ballot more than a year or two.

The Braves will retire No. 29 on June 8th.

For more on the club, check out Talking Chop.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.