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He posted poor statistics in a dozen starts, but in 1989 Smoltz blossomed.In 29 starts, he recorded a 12–11 record and 2.94 ERA while pitching 208 innings, and was named to the NL All-Star team.An eight-time All-Star, Smoltz was part of a celebrated trio of starting pitchers, along with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who propelled Atlanta to perennial pennant contention in the 1990s, highlighted by a championship in the 1995 World Series.He won the National League (NL) Cy Young Award in 1996 after posting a record of 24–8, equaling the most victories by an NL pitcher since 1972.In the seventh and deciding game, he faced his former Detroit Tiger hero, Jack Morris.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015, his first year of eligibility. And Dawson knows there's nothing he can say to Raines to properly prepare him for the task of delivering a Hall of Fame acceptance speech that will serve as the culmination of his career in baseball. In 2002 he became only the second pitcher in history to have had both a 20-win season and a 50-save season (the other being Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley). -- Nobody knows what Tim Raines will be feeling on Sunday afternoon more than his best friend in baseball, Andre Dawson. Though predominantly known as a starting pitcher, Smoltz was converted to a reliever in 2001, following his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and spent four years as the team's closer before returning to a starting role.He also used a curveball and change-up on occasion, and in 1999, he began experimenting with both a knuckleball and a screwball, though he rarely used either in game situations. He began seeing a sports psychologist, after which he closed out the season on a 12–2 pace, helping the Braves win a tight NL West race.His winning ways continued into the 1991 National League Championship Series.Smoltz won both his starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates, capped by a complete game shutout in the seventh game, propelling the Braves to their first World Series since moving to Atlanta in 1966.

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