John Smoltz Delivers Strong Message to Parents and Coaches During HOF Speech
Smoltz warns youth of Tommy John Surgery
Atlanta Braves newest Hall of Famer John Smoltz sent a strong message to parents, coaches and young pitchers during his Hall of Fame Induction Speech on Sunday.
Smoltz, who has been an ambassador for the game of baseball his entire career is currently the only pitcher to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after returning from Tommy John Surgery. Smoltz was a starter for the Braves until the 2000 MLB season, where he was sidelined all year after undergoing Tommy John Surgery.
Smoltz later returned in 2001 and was used as a closer, saving 55 games in 2002, and being a dominant force out of the Braves bullpen. Smoltz, was then transformed back into a starter for three more season to finish off his illustrious career.
The 2015 Hall of Famer has been very opinionated about Tommy John Surgery and told reporters earlier this month that he isn’t sure if there will ever be another pitcher to enter the Hall of Fame after having the procedure done.
With all eyes on Cooperstown for the 2015 Induction Ceremony, Smoltz addressed the Tommy John situation again, this time warning parents and coaches of young pitchers.
“I’ve been given an opportunity as one of the only players, the only one right now, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with Tommy John Surgery,” Smoltz said. “It’s an epidemic. It’s something that is affecting our game.”
The 3,000 strikeout club member also stressed that multi-sport athletes are important and baseball shouldn’t be the only focus of a young athlete.
“I want to encourage the families and parents that are out there that this is not normal to have a surgery at 14 and 15 years old,” Smoltz stated. “That you have time, that baseball is not a year-round sport. That you have an opportunity to be athletic and play other sports.”
Smoltz has experienced first hand what Tommy John Surgery does to people and believes that it isn’t important to be competitive every pitch.
“I want to encourage you, if nothing else, know that your children’s passion and desire to play baseball is something that they can do without a competitive pitch,” Smoltz said. “Every throw a kid makes today is a competitive pitch. They don’t go outside, they don’t have fun, they don’t throw enough.”
Smoltz finished his speech by stating, “Please, take care of those great future arms.”
The future arms Smoltz eluded to were the 20 players in the 2015 All-Star game in Cincinnati who were 25 years or younger.
The future is bright in Major League Baseball and while the baseball world watched on Sunday, Smoltz made everyone aware it is time to protect it.
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