“Smoltz used pine tar” – Braves coach Mazzone

While the 1990’s Atlanta Braves are known for having one of the greatest trios of starting pitchers ever, their former

Photo/Don Peek Wikimedia Commons

pitching coach Leo Mazzone may have helped them by having a few tricks up his sleeve.

Mazzone, who was being interviewed by Evan Cohen and Steve Phillips, was discussing whether or not the New York Giants were faking injuries in their win over the St. Louis Rams.

While discussing “gamesmanship,” Mazzone stated that he had “all kinds of goodies to take care of a baseball to get a little more movement on it.” He also stated that former Braves great, as both a starter and closer, John Smoltz put Pine Tar on balls when he pitched.

“One time Smoltzy had it on his shoes and I said, ‘John you can’t keep bending over and touching your shoes all the time. Let’s put it someplace else!’”

Smoltz, originally acquired by the Braves in a 1987 trade with Detroit for Doyle Alexander, spent 20 years in Atlanta winning 210 games and saving another 154. He split his final season between Boston and St. Louis but struggled as a 42-year-old.

The 1996 Cy Young winner and 8-time All-Star has yet to comment on the allegations, but it seems that Mazzone knew what was going on. He used the “everybody’s doing it” excuse later in the interview.

The Braves pitching staff, built around Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Smoltz is one of the best threesomes ever, and helped lead Atlanta to a record 14 consecutive Division titles.

Now, it seems the record may be tainted.

While Mazzone didn’t implicate other players, he also didn’t make it seem like this was something that only applied to Smoltz.

A future Hall-of-Fame candidate, it will be interesting to see if these allegations are held against Smoltz the same way performance enhancing drugs are currently being held against sluggers like Mark McGwire.

Mazzone and Smoltz were together in Atlanta from 1990 through 2005 (although Smoltz fared just as well in his final three years with the Braves) and the Braves longtime pitching greatness will face serious scrutiny soon.

Used with permission of the author.

Brett is the editor and a contributor for www.BravesFTW.com. He has covered MLB and the Braves for numerous websites and is a regular contributor to Sports Climax. Follow Brett on Twitter.

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