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


Dixie Youth Baseball: Signal Mountain Wins 9-10s Title

Pitcher Forrest Sveadas struck out two and tossed a four-hitter as Signal Mountain American defeated Signal Mountain National, 8-4, to win the Dixie Youth Baseball District 6 championship for 9-10s (AA) Tuesday at Senter Field on Lookout Mountain. Offensively, Sveadas, Jackson Phillips and Sam Eldridge each had a single and scored a run, while Trey Speek and Carter Giles each ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: It's A Wonder We Survived

It's been 51 years since I played my first snap of organized football. I was 13 years old and entering the eighth grade at Madison Junior High School. We had more than 50 boys on the roster for our seventh and eighth grade team, and just one coach. I always held Coach Jimmy Graves in high regard because he very seldom had anyone to help him with drills or any other part of the game, ... (click for more)

Boyd Asks Coppinger For Public Apology; Does Not Get One

County Commissioner Tim Boyd on Wednesday morning read a letter in which he asked County Mayor Jim Coppinger for a public apology. However, he did not get one. Instead, County Mayor Coppinger called remarks last Wednesday by Commissioner Boyd that the county mayor had $4.4 million in discretionary funds "ridiculous." He said that money includes such items as the Humane Educational ... (click for more)

New Family Justice Center Opens Near Eastgate

The fourth Family Justice Center in Tennessee opened on Wednesday in Chattanooga to much fanfare from community members and advocacy groups with comments from Executive Director Valerie Radu, Mayor Andy Berke and City Council Chair Carol Berz among others.       Ms. Berz, who has been an advocate for the establishment of such a facility to unite ... (click for more)

Police Need To Stop The Road Cowboys - And Response

Where is our highway patrol?  If they were known to regularly patrol our interstate highways through our city I don't think it would take long before the "truckers" were aware of it.  There are places in our country where this is the case.   When I have traveled Interstates 24 and 75 I may see the occasional car pulled over but rarely if ever is it an 18-wheeler. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden This July

As the month of July dawns this morning, a walk through my garden shows some flowers blooming, my marigolds dying, and the grass is greener than I thought it would be. But as I look for what’s good and what’s bad, let’s remember that some firecrackers pop while others fizzle. Here we go… A BANG to career criminal Whitely Bulger, the 85-year-old master criminal who in a recent ... (click for more)