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Atlanta Braves All-Star Moments: 1989, 1st All-Star Appearance For John Smoltz

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Smoltz earned the loss in his first All-Star game appearance.
Smoltz earned the loss in his first All-Star game appearance.

The MLB All-Star Game has been full of memorable moment, and with the 82nd Mid-summer Classic upon us, Atlanta Braves fans remember some special moments for their team in All-Star Game history. We were at Talking Chop are proud to introduce the top-10 Braves All-Star Game moments.

July 11th, 1989 - Anaheim, California

After making his major league debut in 1988 at the ripe age of 21, John Smoltz turned the corner in the first half of the season in 1989 and earned his first all-star game bid. He made 18 starts before the all-star break and had a record of 11-6 with a miniscule 2.10 ERA and a 104/45 K/BB ratio including four complete games. Not too shabby for the first part of his first full major league season.

Despite Smoltz's success, the Braves entered the all-star break with a 36-51 record and out of playoff contention in the National League West. Smoltz was the only all-star selection for Atlanta in 1989.

Rich Reuschel started for the National League on the mound against Dave Stewart of the American League. After Reuschel gave up two runs in the first inning, Smoltz was called upon to pitch the second inning for the National League with the game tied at two. 

The first batter Smoltz faced was Ruben Sierra, who lined a single to right field to start the inning. After he coaxed a pop-fly to right from Mark McGwire, catcher Terry Steinbach recorded his only hit of the game with a single to center. Sierra advanced to third on the play to put runners on first and third.

That brought up the great Bo Jackson, who grounded to shortstop. The National League got the out at second but was unable to get Jackson at first, allowing Sierra to come in from third to score and make it a 3-2 game in favor of the American League. After Jackson stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error, Smoltz got Wade Boggs to pop out to shallow left to end the inning. 

The American League went on to win the game 5-3 and Smoltz earned the tough luck loss as he finished with a line of one inning pitched, two hits, one run (earned), no walks and no strikeouts. Bo Jackson earned the MVP award after hitting a home run, making a great catch, and driving in the go ahead run off of Smoltz.

The second half of the season didn't go as well for Smoltz, as he went 1-5 with a 4.42 ERA to finish a combined 12-11 with a 2.94 ERA.

We all know the rest of the story, as Smoltz would go on to make seven more all-star game appearances in his famed career as he became one of the greatest pitchers to ever wear an Atlanta Braves uniform.

The Braves finished the 1989 season with an overall record of 63-97, last place in the National League West.