Fab­u­lous four­some

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS -

Smoltz is the first player elected to the Hall of Fame with Tommy John surgery on his re­sume. He was 15-4 in the post­sea­son dur­ing a 21-year ca­reer spent al­most en­tirely with the At­lanta Braves.

Through five surg­eries, the hard-throw­ing right-han­der per­se­vered - from starter to re­liever to starter again.

“I had to just re­ally rein­vent my­self many, many times, and find ways to over­come,” said Smoltz.

A na­tive of Kings Park on New York’s Long Is­land, Big­gio was a football star in high school poised to make his mark as a run­ning back in col­lege when he de­cided to ac­cept a par­tial base­ball schol­ar­ship.

A first-round pick by the Astros in 1987, Big­gio took over as Hous­ton’s reg­u­lar catcher in 1989.

Two years later, he made his first All-Star team, then was asked to make the im­prob­a­ble tran­si­tion to play sec­ond base in 1992 in an ef­fort to lengthen his ca­reer.

“We zipped up the catcher’s gear and didn’t look back,” said the first As­tro elected to the Hall of Fame. “I be­lieved in my­self and we made it work. I mean, it was never ever done in the history of the game, and that was kind of fun to kind of prove them (the crit­ics) wrong a lit­tle bit.”

AP FILE PHOTO

The Na­tional Base­ball Hall of Fame 2015 in­ductee class, from left, are Craig Big­gio, Pe­dro Martinez, Randy John­son and John Smoltz.

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