Brad Clontz was in Cincinnati earlier this week for the MLB All-Star Game and was wearing his Braves 1995 World Series ring.
“I had quite a few people come up to me and ask about it,’’ said the former side-winding reliever who pitched in Atlanta for three years and still lives here. “That ring always attracts people.’’
Clontz was a rookie on the 1995 team and appeared in 59 games during the regular season and four more in the postseason, including two appearances in the World Series against Cleveland. The following year, Clontz pitched in a league-high 81 games and again four games in the postseason. He would play six seasons in the majors and gave up just one run in eight postseason games: a homer to Jim Thome in the ’95 Series.
Today, Clontz, 44, remains busy coaching a travel baseball team in Johns Creek. He also hosts casino junkets in Las Vegas and just became a baseball agent.
Q: What do you remember about your first World Series appearance in Game 3 in ’95 at Jacobs Field in Cleveland?
A: We were down 4-1 and I was coming in for Smoltzie (John Smoltz). The bases were loaded and there was one out. (Bullpen coach) Ned Yost told me to get ready and I threw three pitches and told him I was good to go. I remember running to the mound and not knowing who was coming up to plate. The stadium was shaking and the crowd was rocking and Manny Ramirez walked into the box. I tried to catch my breath, so I stepped off the rubber. I was hoping I didn't balk but the umpire sort of gave me the look like I was fine. I then got Manny to ground into a double play. Man, it was awesome.
Q: You were one of the few rookies on the ’95 team. That had to make the championship so much sweeter.
A: You just dream of those things but not coming so early in your career. The Braves went to five World Series and won one, so it shows you how hard it is to win it. I get chills when people talk to me about it. I just think of that day when I was sitting on a firetruck going down Peachtree Street at the parade in front of a million people.
Q: How did the casino junket host job come about?
A: Well, after playing with Smoltz and (Greg) Maddux I learned a little about gambling and knowing how to treat celebrities is right up my alley.