Randy Smith: Braves’ Reunion Set For Cooperstown

Thursday, January 9, 2014 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

The success for the Atlanta Braves’ great run through the 1990’s is coming into fruition and will be celebrated with a big reunion in Cooperstown, New York this summer. Four new members of Baseball’s Hall of Fame will be inducted this July and three of them are former Braves. Manager Bobby Cox, joins two of his greatest pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux and “The Big Hurt” Frank Thomas as the class of 2014 will be enshrined.

For Bobby Cox, the honor to join the Hall with Glavine and Maddux is an incomparable emotion. Among all the managers and coaches in Atlanta’s almost fifty year sports history, Cox is still the only one to bring a world title to the city. On the night when the Braves beat the Cleveland Indians 1-0 in Game Six of the 1995 World Series, it was Tom Glavine who was the winning pitcher. The miracle “worst to first” season in 1991 was the first of fourteen straight post season appearances for the Braves. Maddux joined the Braves in 1993 as a free agent and they pitched together until 2002, when Glavine joined the New York Mets.

Glavine and Maddux were each a force in the 1990s and early 2000s. Glavine posted 305 wins and won two Cy Young Awards as the National League’s best pitcher, while Maddux, nicknamed “Mad Dog” won 355 games, won four straight Cy Young Awards and posted a record eighteen Gold Glove Awards. Collecting 660 victories between them as one of baseball’s winningest 1-2 combinations, had some serious advantages. “Glav taught me you don’t have to be 100% to pitch,” Maddux said yesterday. “He showed me which is more important than telling me.”

“Greg’s greatest influence on me was how he would go out there, and not only do what he wanted to do, but pay attention to what the hitters were telling him,” said Glavine. “He would watch the hitters; how they took a pitch, how they fouled off a pitch, how they swung and missed a pitch. That was all valuable information he possessed.”

Neither pitcher had overpowering stuff. They each depended upon pinpoint control and changing speeds to get batters out. They also each developed a great change-up as their “go to” pitch. Both men were first ballot Hall of Famers. Maddux received an amazing 97.2 percent of the votes from writers on the voting committee, while Glavine was right behind him with 92 percent.

Frank Thomas became the first SEC baseball player to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Thomas who set most of the Chicago White Sox career offensive records clobbered 521 home runs, tying the late Mickey Mantle on the all-time list.

Almost as big a story as who made this year’s Hall of Fame is who didn’t make it. All-time home run king Barry Bonds received very few votes as did pitching great Roger Clemens. Unless something drastic happens, neither man will ever make a trip to Cooperstown due to their PED tainted careers. That is a sad commentary on them and professional baseball as well.

Next year, Cox, Maddux, and Glavine will likely be in Cooperstown once again as another Braves’ pitcher, hard throwing right-hander John Smoltz will be eligible for induction. With those guys entering Baseball’s Hall of Fame, it’s easy to see why they won so many games and played in fourteen straight post seasons. This year’s induction ceremony is set for July 27.    

---

Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. He is currently teaching Broadcasting at Coahulla Creek High School near Dalton, Ga.

His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for thirty years.

He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga Television for more than a quarter-century.

In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson, TN. They have two married children, (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith.) They have three grandchildren, Coleman, Boone and DellaMae.

To contact Randy: rsmithsports@epbfi.com


Buxton Led Lookouts Roll To 7-3 Win Over Suns Saturday

The Jacksonville Suns (10-12) fell to the Chattanooga Lookouts (11-11) who used a three-run first to set the tempo en route to a 6-3 win Saturday night from AT&T field.  Chattanooga returned to .500 with the win. The Lookouts got big contributions from some major prospects including Jose Berrios, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco and Zack Jones. Byron Buxton’s hot streak continued. ... (click for more)

Wanda Goins, Killebrew and Lookouts Bobbleheads

  Hall of Famer and former Chattanooga Lookout Harmon Killebrew hit a home run once every 14.22 times at the plate, good enough for sixth best all-time. But Lookouts game programs seller Wanda Goins hits a home run with her fans every Lookouts home game. Get Your Programs,” shouts Goins from her stand just inside the front gates. “Twenty-five cents … twenty-five ... (click for more)

Erlanger Chooses Epic Software For New $100 Million Electronic Medical Records System; CEO Judy Faulkner To Visit Chattanooga

Erlanger CEO Kevin Spiegel announced that the Chattanooga hospital has chosen Epic Systems for a new electronic medical records system that he said will cost close to $100 million over 10 years. He said Cerner was the other finalist for the major hospital expenditure. Mr. Spiegel said the new system will mean some 100 more jobs at Erlanger. He said Epic will bring up to 200 ... (click for more)

Red Bank Police Find 17 Animals In "Deplorable" Condition At Home On Oakland Terrace

Red Bank Police on Friday found 17 animals in "deplorable condition" after making a home check on Oakland Terrace. The Humane Educational Society was called in to assist. The HES said, " Officers entered the home on Oakland Terrace and rescued nine dogs, six cats and two rabbits that had been living in deplorable conditions. "These animals are currently ... (click for more)

Injustice Is Terrible, But Shouldn't Lead To Rioting - And Response (2)

Injustice is terrible.  Period.  I am totally wowed, amazed, and grateful that the six officers have been charged in Baltimore.  Justice will be done like with the officer that shot the man in the back.   That being said,  I don't understand why, when atrocities like this happen, protests and marches can evolve into terrible rioting.  Fortunately ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: From Private To General

It was quite a thing back in March, when Florida Gov. Rick Scott named Maj. Gen. Michael Calhoun to command the state’s National Guard. After all, not many who sign up as a “buck private” climb the ladder all the way to become the state’s Adjutant General, and when you add the fact the highly-respected Calhoun is an African-American, the story only gets better. But there is more: ... (click for more)