"I’ve defended Frank Wren several times this off-season, but there’s no excuse for the way the John Smoltz situation was handled." By Chop Chick | Thursday, January 8, 2009, 06:03 PMThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Icon of Braves’ best years goes to Boston,By Carroll Rogers
Over the past 21 years, John Smoltz became an Atlanta icon, building a lasting connection to this community.
On the field, he gave us the indelible image from the moment the Braves’ run of success began, holding catcher Greg Olson in his arms in celebration when the team clinched the division in 1991. And he was the only player still left from the first of those record 14 straight division titles.
Smoltz’s presence transcended the Braves uniform. And now that uniform, which so many people connect with the bearded one wearing No. 29, will be gone.
Smoltz told the Braves and his teammates Thursday that he would sign a one-year contract to pitch for the Boston Red Sox.
Throughout his career, he endeared himself to metro Atlantans outside the ballpark.
He served Thanksgiving meals to the needy for “Hosea Feed the Hungry.” He founded Kings Ridge, a Christian school in north Fulton County. His best buddy is local comedian Jeff Foxworthy.
And he’s one of the few people in the world who can get Tiger Woods on the telephone.
For his teammates, his fans and the city, emotionally detaching themselves is extremely hard —- and it’s only just begun.
“Never, even in a million years did I think this day would come for John Smoltz,” Braves veteran third baseman Chipper Jones said. “I honestly thought that everybody would go somewhere else before John would.”
Last year was very difficult for me as an Atlanta fan because of the loss of Andruw Jones, He became the incredible player he is today right before my eyes in a Braves uniform. However I understood that the 10s of millions of dollars was just not there to keep him. When I learned that it was less than 2 million dollars that caused us to loose Smoltz I my heart sank . Obviously this Mr. Wren does not respect the fans or the legacy.