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In spite of a number of injuries, Smoltz is still a likely Hall of Famer when eligible.
A prospect acquired from the Tigers in the deal that sent Doyle Alexander to Detroit, John Smoltz was never expected to become an ace. However, Smoltz not only became an ace, but also an elite closer.
The 1996 Cy Young Award winner won a total of 213 games and saved a total of 154 games over a career that lasted 21 seasons. Smoltz, who finished fourth in the Cy Young Award voting in 1998 as a starter, went down with an arm injury late in 1999. When it was time to return, partly because of his health and partly because of the team's pitching depth, Smoltz agreed to move to the bullpen.
After a strong year in his return in 2001, Smoltz became the full-time closer the next three seasons. He was so good as a closer that he was named to two All-Star teams and earned MVP votes in each of the three seasons. However, after that great three-year run, Smoltz decided to make the move back to the starting rotation.
Smoltz went on to win 44 games over his first three seasons back in the rotation, and was off to a strong start in 2008 before an injury ended his season after only six games. Smoltz came back in 2009, but pitched for the Cardinals and Red Sox, and never found his form. He would retire after that season at the age of 42.
Smoltz was one of the three big starters that started the Braves' long run of division titles. His success in the rotation and bullpen, as well as the fact that he was willing to help his team and move to the bullpen for so long, helped to make him a fan favorite.