August 2, 2021

Sunday Notes: Health in Mind, Joe Smith Climbs an All-Time List (FanGraphs)

Joe Smith has quietly been a good pitcher for a long time. Now 37 years old and playing for his sixth team, the Houston Astros reliever has a 3.06 ERA over 14 big-league seasons. Moreover, his 804 appearances are the most of any active hurler — and that’s not even the eye-catching part. Smith recently moved ahead of Walter Johnson into 49th place on the all-time list, with another legend in his sights. Next up is Nolan Ryan, who logged 807 career outings.

I asked Smith about his ascent in the pitching-appearances category. Could he have imagined this when he debuted with the New York Mets in 2007?

“When I first got called up, I was just trying to figure out what the heck pitching in the big leagues was, “said Smith, who’d been drafted out of Wright State University the previous year. “That offseason, I wrote out some goals and things I needed to get better at, and I was able to accomplish them. At that point I felt like I could do it for a long time. But there’s so much luck in this game. Your health, right? Pedro Martinez was on the team, and everybody would wish him good luck. He’d be, ‘No, wish me good health. If I’m healthy, I’ll be good.’ That…

Read “Sunday Notes: Health in Mind, Joe Smith Climbs an All-Time List” at FanGraphs