What: The Braves will kick off their alumni weekend by inducting fomer pitcher John Smoltz into their Hall of Fame in a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Omni Hotel. They will retire his jersey No. 29 in a pregame ceremony at Turner Field on Friday night before the Braves take on the Toronto Blue Jays.
Tickets: The luncheon is sold out, but tickets still remain for all three games of the weekend series against Toronto. The Braves are encouraging fans either to buy parking permits in advance or to take MARTA.
TV: Fox Sports South will broadcast the pregame ceremony, beginning at 7 p.m. WPCH will broadcast the game, which is scheduled to begin at 7:35 p.m.
Heady company: Smoltz will become the ninth Brave to have his jersey number retired, joining his rotation mates Greg Maddux (31) and Tom Glavine (47), as well as players Hank Aaron (44), Eddie Mathews (41), Dale Murphy (3), Phil Niekro (35) and Warren Spahn (21) and manager Bobby Cox (6). Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 is retired, as it is throughout Major League Baseball.
“Greg [Maddux] and I had our similarities, but I think we all did some things uniquely. But I don’t know that anybody did anything more uniquely than John in terms of being so good at two different roles. There have been dominating starting pitchers. There have been dominating relievers. But I can’t think of too many other guys that were dominating at both. I know the guy that everybody talks about is Eckersley, but I don’t even know that Dennis was as good as John when you really talk about raw ability. And John will always be looked at around here as a big-game pitcher, which he was. He won a lot of big games around here.” — Glavine
“Very fitting. Now he’s up there with his two golfing buddies. Smoltzie was probably the most versatile of the bunch to be able to go out and win 200 ballgames as a starter and go out and save 150 plus as a closer, when our ballclub needed him the most. That’s saying a lot. He was a staple here in Atlanta for a long time and probably the one guy out of the bunch you most wanted out there during a Game 7. He certainly represented himself and this organization well over his time here, no more so than in the Game 7’s that he pitched.” — Braves third baseman Chipper Jones
Compiled by Carroll Rogers
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