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