After undergoing major arm surgery in 2000, Smoltz made the transition from starting pitcher to closer. He made an immediate impact, becoming one of baseball's most dominant relievers. Catcher Henry Blanco congratulates Smoltz on Sept. 27, 2002, after the righthander closed out the Mets for his 54th save of the season, setting an NL record. He finished the 2002 season with 55, and followed that with 49 saves in 2003.
** FILE ** This June 4, 2008 file photo shows Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz speaking during a news conference about season-ending shoulder surgery as Braves manager Bobby Cox looks on, in Atlanta. Smoltz has reached a preliminary agreement on a contract with the Boston Red Sox, a stunning end to his long career with the Atlanta Braves. The deal was expected to be finalized later Thursday Jan. 8, 2009. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)