John Smoltz To Headline 2013 ODU Baseball Banquet

December 09, 2012
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Dec. 9, 2012

NORFOLK, VA-- Atlanta Braves pitching standout John Smoltz, who for more than two decades garnered eight All-Star selections and the 1996 CY Young Award, will be the keynote speaker for the 36th annual ODU Baseball Banquet at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel, January 25th.

Smoltz began his major league career in 1998, winning 14 or more games seven times. In 1996, he compiled a 24-8 record with a 2.94 earned run average, six complete games, two shutouts, and led the major leagues in strikeouts with 276. He was also 17-3 in 1998 with a 2.90 earned run average. In 1992, he won 15 games with a 2.85 ERA and led the National League in strikeouts with 215.

Though primarily known as a starting pitcher, Smoltz was a converted reliever in 2001, following his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and spent four years as the Braves closer before returning to a starting role. In 2002, Smoltz 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).

Smoltz is the only pitcher in major league history to top both 200 wins and 150 saves. He became the 16th member of the 3,000 strikeout club on April 22, 2008 against Felipe Lopez of the Washington Nationals.

Smoltz pitched 20 years for Atlanta and one each with St. Louis and Boston. He retired after the 2009 season to finish his career with 3,084 career strikeouts, 154 saves, 213-155 record and a 3.33 earned run average. He helped the Braves win the 1995 World Series, was the 1992 NLCS MVP and the 1997 Silver Slugger Award winner. Born in Detroit, MI, Smoltz was selected in the 22nd round of the 1985 amateur draft by the Detroit Tigers out of Waverly High School in Lansing, MI. before the Tigers traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1987 for veteran pitcher Doyle Alexander. The Atlanta Braves retired his number 29.

The ODU banquet has annually featured some of the top names in major league baseball. In the past Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith, Rollie Fingers, Andre Dawson, Rich Gossage, Joe Morgan, Brooks Robinson, Hank Aaron, Lou Brock, Steve Carlton, Jim Palmer, Johnny Bench, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, the late Jim "Catfish" Hunter, the late Harmon Killebrew, Gaylord Perry, Jim Rice, Dave Winfield, Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken, Jr., managerial greats Tommy Lasorda and the late Sparky Anderson have spoken at the banquet.

Individual tickets for the Friday Jan. 25th banquet are $65 each with a special rate for groups or teams at $45.00 each (20+ tickets) by calling 683-6964. Table sponsorships, which include amenities such as a VIP reception with the headliner, autographed baseballs and more, will be available as well. Please contact the Old Dominion Athletic Foundation (ODAF) at 683-6964 for sponsorship information.