John Smoltz has a number of passions — golf, for one, which he got serious about when he was 21 with Atlanta Braves teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as a way to spend time on their days off between starts — but his work ethic comes from his father.
The Hall of Fame pitcher and former National League Cy Young Award winner hasn’t rested on his laurels since retiring from Major League Baseball, digging hard into the celebrity golf circuit, playing in multiple PGA Tour Champions events and working as the lead MLB analyst for Fox Sports.
During Thursday’s Field of Dreams Game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs, Smoltz revealed on air that he lost his father earlier in the day, yet remained in Iowa to carry through with the national broadcast.
We are saddened to share the news that John Smoltz’s father, John Adam Smoltz, died earlier today. John took time during tonight’s broadcast to remember his father and look back on the memories they shared together. pic.twitter.com/6VcNsyNEAq
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 12, 2022
“It’s been an emotional day,” Smoltz said of losing his father, who was 79. “He lived by his faith, he loved family and he would be so mad if I didn’t do this game. I can’t think of another day to honor him, when you think about this park, this movie and how he loved every one of us and anyone he came in contact with. I’m the man I am because of him.”
Aside from his incredible baseball career, Smoltz has made a name for himself on the golf circuit, playing eight PGA Tour-sanctioned events, all on the Champions Tour. His best finish was a T-53 at the Cologuard Classic in 2019. He played in the U.S. Senior Open in 2018.
Smoltz has said that his most memorable round was with Annika Sorenstam, Tiger Woods and his Atlanta Braves teammate Chipper Jones.
He added Thursday that his family received tremendous support after losing John Adam Smoltz.
“I can’t explain the peace I have,” Smoltz said. “That comes from God and the way he lived. I call it the 4 L’s. He lived. He laughed. He learned. He listened. He gave us everything that we needed to fulfill and show up to work.
“And I feel like I’m showing up to work and what a better way for my Mom, my brother and my sister, and the support we’ve gotten today,” Smoltz added. “It’s started this early this morning. I’m sure it will hit me when I get home. But this is the perfect day for him if he was going to leave.
“He was so proud. When I was in high school, he made my first baseball card. And everywhere he went, he just handed them out to people. I didn’t get it then. I was actually begging him to stop doing that. I get it now, because I’ve run into so many people who met my dad and they say, ‘I met your dad.’ And I say, ‘Stop. Did he give you a card?’
“We’ll miss him. I’m going to live every day for him.”
Interestingly enough, Smoltz’s last major golf duel involved a similar scenario. Smoltz lost in a playoff at the 2021 American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe to Vinny Del Negro, who then revealed after the victory that his father, Vincent, had passed just before the tournament began,