Eight-time Major League All-Star and Cy Young Award Winning pitcher John Smoltz credits faith in God and desire to be a “team player” as the reasons for his success.
Smoltz also said during an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV that players like Roger Clemons, who faces federal charges for lying to Congress about his use of performance enhancing drugs, “deserve a chance to be forgiven.”
Smoltz delves deeper into those topics in his new book, “Starting and Closing: Perseverance, Faith, and One More Year.”
Smoltz was a starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves from 1988 until 2001, when he moved to the bullpen as a relief pitcher. He regained a starting position later in his career, and played briefly for the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals before retiring in 2008.
See our exclusive video interview here. Story continues below video.
Smoltz says the highlight of his career came in 1995 when the Braves won the World Series. That same year Smoltz became a Christian.
“It’s really an inward peace that we all struggle with as baseball players and athletes. We are searching for significance.
“I just chose to have a walk that hopefully glorifies God, the talents he’s given me, and make the best of whatever I can,” Smoltz said.
When asked about the treatment of other Christian athletes, such as NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, Smoltz said he is pleased to see religion getting attention. But he said athletes must be careful that they use their celebrity as a way to glorify God and not themselves.”
“The fact that Tim Tebow has had the world talking about this, [it] would have never gotten on talk radio before, never would have been on some of the shows that it would has been – so he’s handled himself the way he feels is best.”
Smoltz also helped build Knights Ridge Christian School in Alpharetta, Ga., in the Atlanta suburbs. He told Newsmax that a lot of professional athletes do more charitable works than they get credit for.
“It’s more, in sports, about the freakish nature of what’s being done that draws the attention negatively.
‘There are so many of my colleagues, so many of my ex-teammates that have done so many great works with charities,” he said.
Smoltz, whose two-decade career overlapped the “steroids era” in Major League Baseball, says he felt “pain” when he watched players like pitcher Roger Clemons testify before Congress.
“Maybe that was their [Congress’] World Series to show that we are going to make a difference in this sport. Maybe baseball was the poster child and shouldn’t have been,” Smoltz said referring to the congressional investigation into the use of performance- enhancing drugs in his sport.
When asked specifically about Clemens, Smoltz said: “The perjury and lying in that arena – it’s undeniably not something you can do. They obviously take that seriously, as they should.”
Smoltz, now a broadcaster for TBS and the MLB networks, said he looks forward “to two years from now and we are not dealing with it [steroids] anymore.”
As for the players who have used performance-enhancing drugs, Smoltz said, “Everyone deserves a chance to be forgiven, as people have been in the past.”
To buy a copy of “Starting and Closing: Perseverance, Faith, and One More Year,” click here.
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