Originally Posted by mzh
a 2.41 ERA as a reliever with 154 saves in essentially 3.5 years as a closer is more than 'very good'. That's a HOF career as a reliever. He had a few high-3 ERA seasons as a starter, but 209 wins and a 3.40 ERA is pretty damn impressive considering that most of his career came during the greatest offensive era in the history of the game. I don't think it's a stretch to say that he probably would have won at least 280 games had he not spent 5 years out of the rotation due to injury.
Also, Eckersley's career statline as a starter: 149-130 with a 3.71 ERA. Not even close. He may not get in on the first ballot, I don't think there's any doubt that Smoltz is a HOFer.
He didn't close enough to be counted as a HOF reliever and he wasn't as good as Eckersley. Not sure the starting numbers are lockdown HOF either. My point is he was very good at both, great at neither. Eck was great at closing. I'm not disputing your info just pondering whether his closing or starting individually are good enough. Eck spent a lot of time in the AL too, Smoltz didn't , might have a lot to do with ERA disparity as starters.When Eck was a closer I thought for sure this guy was one of the all time greats at his job, never ever felt that way about Smoltz.