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Starting and Closing: Perseverance, Faith, and One More Year

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  143 ratings  ·  30 reviews
I wasn't afraid to fail. It's really as simple as that.

As a seven-year-old kid pitching a ball against a brick wall, John Smoltz decided to be a professional baseball player when he grew up. And from that simple decision until his last season on the mound in the major leagues, it was his faith, work ethic, and love for the game—even more than God-given talent—that propelle
ebook, 304 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by William Morrow
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Every year when Spring Training comes around I find my self reading a baseball book. So this year when I found out that John Smoltz would be coming to my store to do a book signing and I was able to acquire an advanced copy I thought I had another baseball book I could enjoy. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. This book just didn't do it for me. First of all, as a dedicated and life time fan of the Mets, I'm going to have a certain animosity toward anyone involved with the Braves. But as a fan ...more
“Starting and Closing: Perseverance, Faith and One More Year” by John Smoltz and Don Yeager

Baseball, autobiography, Braves

May 8, 2012

304 pages

3 of 5 stars (good)

John Smoltz was an integral part of the Atlanta Braves franchise that won 14 consecutive division titles between 1991 and 2005. For a portion of that stretch he was considered one of the “Big Three” in the Braves starting rotation of Smoltz, Greg Maddox and Tom Glavine.

As is the case
Enjoyed the background to these important years in Braves history and Major League Baseball history. Very insightful autobiography.
This was one of the best books I read, even for not being a book reader myself. The fact that he always wants to go out and help his team win games inspired me to go out and help others with anything. This book also taught me that no matter what happens, always have a mindset that you can do it. I also realized that if you make mistakes, move on with the knowledge to prevent that mistake. A man from one of my favorite teams was nearly at a career ending injury, but he came back, even though the ...more
Stoney Setzer
I'll admit to being a bit biased on this review. The Atlanta Braves are my favorite team in any sport, and John Smoltz is my all-time favorite Brave, so I doubt that there would have been any way for me to NOT like this book. For those who may not know, Smoltz was one of the key figures in the Braves' rise from 1980s doormats to 1990s contenders. He is one of only 15 pitchers with 3,000 + career strikeouts (and the only Brave on that list), has 15 career postseason wins, and is the only pitcher ...more
John Smoltz is one of the best pitchers to ever play major league baseball. For over twenty years he pitched for the Atlanta Braves, chosen eight times for the All-Star team and winning the Cy Young Award for best pitcher in 1996.

He pitched in the starting rotation for fourteen years when an injury caused him to move to the bullpen and become a relief pitcher. After three years in the bullpen, he asked to rejoin the starting rotation. Many people, particularly in the sports media, asked him why
Donny Stephens
I'm usually not into autobiographies but once I seen this book in my local library I had to pick it up. Being a fan of Smoltz and the Atlanta Braves, I knew this would be a good read. This book also drove me to write my first review here on goodreads so here it goes.

John Smoltz - Starting and Closing

The author, John Smoltz, was one of the best pitchers in baseball in my opinion. He pitched for the Altanta Braves from 1991 to 1999 and won the Cy Young Award in 1996 and a World Series Title in 199
I grew up a die-hard Atlanta Braves fan. Though I don't follow the game nearly as much as I used to (I used to record the team's stats and maintain a binder for a few years -- I was very serious!), I am still a Braves fan at heart. I've long been a fan of John Smoltz, as well. I had the good fortune to interview him in the Braves dugout for a summer project I worked on in 2002, the summer after my junior year at The College of William & Mary. (The project was a statistical analysis of the Br ...more
Let me preface my review by stating that I'm a huge Braves fan and a huge John Smoltz fan. In the '90s when he, Glavine, and Maddux were part of the rotation, I listened to them on the radio all the time, especially in September when the season would be winding down and we'd be in our huge crunch time at work.

Reading Smoltz account of his time with the Braves, his disaster with the Red Sox and finally ending with the Cardinals, it felt as if he were actually telling me, about it. Because of his
"Staring and Closing" is insightful and motivational, with some fun anecdotes from both John Smoltz' playing career and his post-career (starting a private school, public speaking, and broadcasting). I enjoyed getting to know Smoltz and found him quite transparent. I also appreciated his boldness in sharing his Christian faith in a simple but powerful way. It really is a terrific peek into his motivations and how he turns challenges -- even failure -- into the fuel for success. Some Braves fans ...more
In the years I covered the Braves, two things would be certain in an interview with John Smoltz after a game he pitched: a little whining and a lot of explanation. This book is a little like that. There's some "if only this, then this," but a lot of thought-out reasoning for why things happened the way they did. I've always like Smoltz, admired him being openly Christian and liked his doggedness. While the book purports to be about his final up and down season with Boston and St. Louis, it's mor ...more
Chris Witt
Fairly dull. Smoltz seems like a nice enough guy but comes across as a bit stiff and his story did nothing to pull me in. Hell of a career, though.
Mostly Smoltz' view of his final years in baseball. Interesting and semi-entertaining although he seems be using this as a bit of a defense in some areas. John Smoltz was a hall-of-fame calibre pitcher and a top-drawer man of faith off the field, so that alone makes the book an interesting read. I would've liked to read more of his relationship with next=door neighbor and friend Jeff Foxworthy... there HAD to be some cool practical jokes in that neighborhood!
I felt that the book could have been
Growing up in a Braves family (for example -- I have lots of memories of watching the Braves on TBS; my great-aunt had a photo of Maddux in her family pictures!) I grabbed this book when I saw it at my local public library. I was able to follow along with the baseball (particularly the Braves part!) but the rest of his baseball career was interesting as well.

The entire book talks alot about what he overcame to do what he wanted to do. It was very inspiring!
Shane Grier

Precedent. Stoltz takes the reader through out his career in MLB. The highest highs of winning a world championship and the surgeries that took him to his lowest lows. Good read.
Michael J
At first I thought it was kind of boring, but then I realized that I only held that opinion because I was accustomed to reading gripping biographies of Christian martyrs like Dietrich Beonhoffer and Corrie Ten-Boom. If you imagine John Smoltz just relaxing in your living room after eating a good dinner telling you his life story, it becomes an enjoyable read.
Brandon Ford
Not a captivating read by any means, but if you are a serious Braves fan, you might want to check it out.
I am a huge Braves fan, but I think this book is for everyone. It reads just like Smoltz is talking to you. He talks about his internal drive and refusing to fail through his many surgeries and comebacks. He talks about his faith in a non-preachy way. Many of his points apply to challenges that we all face.
This book was phenomenal and much more than I expected. John's talk of faith and spirituality was an inspiration that even the non-baseball/Braves fan could appreciate. The book and its events were executed with such grace and respect that furthers my being a fan of superb pitcher and amazing person.
Layne A.
This was not a very good "baseball" book. John gets too caught up in his religious views and in his talk about his golf game. I just want plain old talk about pitching and/or talk about other Braves players. He did have a lot of good things to say about the St. Louis Cardinal organization.
You don't have to be a baseball fan to read John Smoltz's book. I've been a fan of his, and the Braves, for a long time but learning personal things about him just intensified my respect for him as a man as well as an athleete. If you are a fan, you'll love the book.
I always liked John Smoltz. After reading this book I like him more. A great person who is a great baseball player.I have not watched a Braves game since the mid 2000. Just hearing about the behind the sceens thing, contracts,personel.
Really a great read.
I am a die hard Braves fan but have stopped watching in the last few years when all of my favs retired/went to other teams.. I enjoyed reading this book by Smoltz, esp the parts about the joking around!
Good book if you are a fan of baseball and especially John Smoltz. A little slow in places, but always returned to an interesting or funny side. The last third of the book was especially good.
Jcrane1095 Crane
I live John Smoltz but just didn't find the auto-biography very interesting. For all of the great accomplishments that he had, I was expecting a more interesting read.
This was an enjoyable read, but not as much baseball as I expected. A diehard Braves fan would probably find this more enjoyable.
Jim Blessing
Very quickly into this book, I realize I didn't like it or the author.
Good read, humorous, christian and Atlanta Braves....
John Stinebaugh
An excellent look at life not just baseball.
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