Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Night Baseball: 2015 Hall of Fame Candidate John Smoltz - 2003 Topps #556

For tonight's Sunday Night Baseball feature we are posting the 2nd installment of our 2015 HoF candidates. With the Braves hosting the Nats we turn to John Smoltz.

2003 Topps #556 John Smoltz

The HoF case for John Smoltz is interesting.  Due to a career arc that moved him to the closer role Smoltz is pretty unique in the history of the game.  Despite only starting five games over a 5 year period (2000-2004) Smoltz still found time to win 213 games. In addition to that big number Smoltz won a World Series (1995) and collected a Cy Young award. He was a member of 8 All-Star teams and started the 1996 game that was hosted by the Phillies.

Smoltz Advanced stats numbers give him a little trouble. The four years he spent closing likely hurt Smoltz career WAR numbers. His 69.5 WAR number is a few ticks below the Average for HoF candidates. That number puts Smoltz above Jim Palmer, Don Sutton, Juan Marichal and Don Drysdale. It also puts him below Non-Haller Rick Reuschel.

There is a significant third aspect to Smoltz's HoF resume - His Postseason numbers. The man was 15-4 in 209 playoff innings. His ERA in those game was a very solid 2.67. 

Phungo Verdict
HoF - This is a pretty easy one for me. Even with the baseball world turning towards SABRmetrics I think the BBWAA will agree and put John Smoltz in the Hall on Ballot One.  The overall career numbers coupled with the World Series Ring and Smoltz's dominant postseason numbers make for  a pretty strong case. In addition I think the BBWAA will look favorably upon Smoltz for being able to accept any role to help the team.

2003 Topps

I love this card. In general I think 2003 Topps is underrated. The rich colors throughout the set work and I like the profile pix in the lower corner which echoes 1983 Topps, another Phungo favorite. Beyond that I am a fan of cards with the throwback unis. The Braves Hank Aaron era throwback meshes well with the set color scheme.  HoF card for a HoF player.

John Smoltz Phungo HoF Index
Phungo HoF Page

Sources and Links
2015 Topps HoF Candidates

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2008 World Champions