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Smoltz's HoF induction: One year too late?

Certain names in baseball just go together. Ruth, Gehirg. Tinkers to Evers to Chance. Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz.

The trio of Atlanta Braves pitchers gave opposing teams fits throughout the late 90s and early 2000s winning 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005. Add to that, Glavine winning the Cy Young Award in 1991, Maddux from 1992-1995 (1992 with the Cubs), Smoltz in 1996, and Glavine again in 1998. You can argue that there has never been a pitching staff more dominant than the Braves staffs headed by these three now Hall of Famers.

Maddux and Glavine both had their moments in the sun in 2014 joining Frank Thomas, Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, and their Braves skipper Bobby Cox in Cooperstown for their Hall of Fame inductions. John Smoltz had to wait 364 days for his turn. Glavine and Maddux both called it quits after the 2008 season, earning first ballot induction in 2014 while Smoltz made one last comeback attempt with the Boston Red Sox and the Cardinals in 2009. If he hadn't all three could have shared the day, and the induction class, together.

However, as Smoltz says, there was never any talk between the three as to when they should retire so that should the be elected to the Hall, they could go in together. In fact, Smoltz will remind you that Glavine also made a comeback attempt in 2009, but never pitched an innings in the big leagues. Smoltz did, so his Hall eligibility took an extra year. But, he says, it's almost better this way.

"I'm one of those guys that wasn't stupid, I knew they were gonna make it and everybody tried to find a way for me to make it so it seemed they were always bombarded with questions 'what do you think it's going to take.' I was just that guy that loved to compete, wanted to win championships, and when you make it on your own accord away from them it's pretty unique to be full circle," Smoltz said. "To see them get enshrined last year I've never smiled and been happier in my life other than my own family and my own kids."