Today marks the 50th birthday of Hall of Fame right-hander John Smoltz. A staple in the Major Leagues for two decades, he spent 16 years pitching alongside fellow Hall of Famer Tom Glavine. They were teammates until Glavine signed with the Mets after the 2002 season.
Glavine was still with the Mets when the two squared off at Shea Stadium on April 22, 2007. It was on that day that Smoltz took the opportunity to show his old friend that he was still as athletic as ever, despite approaching his 40th birthday.
In the fifth inning of a 1-1 game, Glavine hit a weak roller up the third-base line. Glavine was past his 40th birthday himself, but it was hit so slowly that it seemed certain to be an infield single anyway.
Smoltz had none of it.
Smoltz gained his reputation on the strength of his heater, but he had to pull off a different kind of fastball in order to get Glavine. The throw not only got there in plenty of time, but it was perfectly aimed -- first baseman Craig Wilson barely had to move.
Glavine could only shoot his pal a wry smile. With the help of this play, Smoltz's Braves went on to win, 9-6. In a postgame interview, Glavine said, "I was mad at him, that he made it, but I wasn't surprised."
Meanwhile, Smoltz described it as "probably my best play, ever."
It's hard to imagine one better. Happy birthday, Smoltzy!