John Smoltz is a Cy Young winner and future hall of
fame pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. We met him at Marlins Stadium during Atlanta’s last
road trip to South Florida.
Can you tell us something about yourself
that people would be surprised to know?
Yes, not a lot of people know that I played the accordion when I
was 4-7 years old. And then I played the drums from 7-10. But then at 10 years old I asked my Mom and Dad if I could put it
all away and play sports. I come from a musical family.
If you had to use one word
to describe yourself, what would that word be?
was your most exciting moment as a kid?
One of the most exciting moments as a kid was being at the 1984 Tiger’s
World Series clinching game 6 or maybe it was 7 when they won it all. I was a huge Tiger fan and I got to go. They were throwing
grass up in the stands. I brought the grass home and grew it in my backyard.
you were a kid, did you have a crush on anyone?
Daisy from the show the Dukes of Hazzard.
What was your favorite moment playing baseball?
Believe it or not, in high school at my
last at bat, I hit a walk off home run to win our tournament, Diamond Classic Tournament. The last swing of my high school
career was a game winning home run.
Have the Major Leagues changed since you were
a rookie, how?
Oh yeah. It’s changed dramatically. It’s changed in the pay scale from the ball
parks to the strike zones. You name it. It’s changed.
Is it different pitching
to Barry Bonds?
Yes it is. It’s the most difficult thing next there to Ablert Puljos. Every hitter
has a hole or a weakness that you can exploit for the most part. When Barry is going good, there’s no weakness. You
got to get lucky. Obviously when he hit 73 home runs, not too many people got lucky.
you have any superstitions that cause you to do anything before or after a game?
It’s kind of pitcher’s
thing. The one thing you don’t do is step on the line when you walk out there for whatever reason. But I’ve done
What was your most embarrassing sports moment?
had a few. Last year in this stadium. I was so excited. I flew people down. I was coming back from closer to starter. I was
making my debut on opening day against the Marlins and I lasted 1 and 2/3 inninngs and gave up eight runs. So I waited four
years to do that.
What’s the funniest or strangest thing that ever happened
to you on the baseball field?
One game, it wasn’t going real well. I was frustrated and I went to snatch
the ball back from the umpire throwing the ball to me and I missed it and it hit me right on top of the head. Of course, everybody
saw that and it had to be replayed a bunch of times.
Do you have any pets.
have three; two Wheaton Terriers, Brownie and Lilly and then a cat, named Stormy. I was not a cat lover until I got this cat
for my oldest boy. It’s the coolest cat in the world, the greatest cat and if all cats were like this I’d have
a different appreciation of cats.
How do you deal with being away from your family?
I have four children and a beautiful wife so the more I play the more difficult it becomes. I deal with it by
making sure when I do get to be with them that I enjoy the moment.
the best part of being a Dad?
Absolutely getting to see the development of your children and trying to teach
them character and morals different from what the world teaches. I get to teach them to be different and their own and more
importantly how to respect other people.
What do your kids want to be when they
The oldest will be some kind of scientist, lawyer, historian, totally different than I could think
of. I could see my daughter running some kind of daycare or being a teacher. My younger daughter could be a dancer or a singer.
And my youngest daughter is six and the verdict’s still out.
had one wish, what would it be?
That there would be no starvation.
Tell something your mother always told you as a kid.
If I ever wanted to anything at all
to not let someone else determine it. She wanted me to do it right in my house.
do you think is the funniest sounding word?
Pimple comes to mind
ICE CREAM FLAVOR-Vanilla
MOVIE-Dumb and Dumber
TOY AS KID-I had a train
that I could sit on and ride around a track
PRESIDENT-Bush, because of all the flack he’s taking
RIDE AT DISNEYWORLD-thunder Mountain Railroad
Car-I’ve had it for ten years, my 540
Room in the House-Basement theatre
MORE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH JOHN SMOLTZ
advice do you have for kids about making their dreams come true?
You have to have a dream. Practice, sacrifice, work
at it, dream and don’t let anybody else deter you from those dreams.
Who did you look up to as a kid and
I was a big Detroit Tiger fan so I liked everybody on the Tigers. But the guy I admired in the game of baseball
and outside the game of baseball was Dale Murphy. I got a chance to play with him and he represented the game about as good
as anybody I can ever think of and I hope I follow in his footsteps.
What was your most embarrassing moment as
One of the most embarrassing, I was running around our ping pong table in the basement and ended up breaking my
toe hitting the corner and ended up missing some basketball games. I felt pretty foolish when they asked me how I broke my
What’s it like to be booed and how do you deal with it?
I have been booed and I tell you what,
I use it as a motivation. Booing is an option just like cheering. One thing I’ve learened to do is not get too carried
away with success and not get too down about failure. It makes me better.
Did you get along with your siblings?
Did you ever fight with them?
My brother and my sister are a year apart and we got along well. My brother and I only
had one fight and I never messed with my sister. She was pretty tough. We’re a close family and growing up they were
two great admirers and fans with me playing most of the sports so they were truly great.
How did you feel when
you found out that you had to have surgery on your arm?
There really wasn’t anything I could do about it so I had
to trust that it was going to work out. It wasn’t in my hands. I never felt doubt whatsoever. Once I had the surgery
I was determined to get back.