Our 2021 year long series is dedicated to the 1996 All-Star Game which occurred at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia 25 years ago.
My goal is to get 20 or so postings on the subject. Almost anything will be better than the half dozen columns on last years subject, the 1980 World Champion Phillies.
Tonight our first posting is dedicated to Braves Hall of Famer John Smoltz who was bestowed the honor of staring for the National League by his manager Bobby Cox.
2002 Topps #145 John Smoltz (stolen from amazon)
Smoltz was the first of 9 pitchers involved in the The NLs 6-0 shutout the Junior circuit. Among the hurlers Smoltz was the only pitcher to record more than an inning pitched. He faced 8 batters giving up a pair of hits. Smoltz only strike out was Albert Belle, among the other five batters he retired were four future Hall of Famers: Wade Boggs, Robby Alomar, Cal Ripken, and Pudge Rodriguez. For you advanced stats folks among the 14 pitcher who saw action in the game Smoltz was the WPA Leader with +0.102.
This is definitely one of my least favorites Topps flagship issues. Don't like the brown/orange border color. It's a shame because I do like the pennant design - and this is the one year where I think Chrome looks better than flagship.
Chose this one because it ties together two Braves Hall of Famers. The other is Eddie Mathews who passed away in 2001. To Honor Mathews the Braves wore a memorial patch which you can see on Smoltz upper sleeve. It is Eddie Mathews #41 which the Braves retired on July 26 1969.
Sources and Links
Eddie Mathews HOF Index