Did John Smoltz Burn Himself While Ironing the Shirt He Was Wearing?


Any conversation about bizarre sports injuries eventually turns to John Smoltz, who supposedly burned himself while trying to iron the shirt he was wearing in 1990. The legend lives on in sports blogs and message boards, though Smoltz has been trying to debunk it for 15 years. Here's a 1996 quote from The Sporting News:

"That is the most false thing I've ever heard," Smoltz says. "That got created six years ago, and it never left me. Ironing my shirt while it was on—that's the most absurd thing. It was made up. But it got on Arsenio Hall, CNN, everywhere. And what do you do to stop it? I just read it again."

How'd this story get started in the first place? Go back to 1990, when reports like this one from The Times appeared in newspapers across the country:

"Smoltz received a slight burn on his right chest while trying to iron his shirt. Apparently, no one was around Sunday to suggest to Smoltz that he first take off the shirt. The result was five red, inch-long streaks below his Polo emblem."

And this quote from Smoltz himself that appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution doesn't help his case:

"I couldn't believe it. I've done it five or six times and never had that happen.”

Smoltz insists Braves beat reporter Joe Strauss had the whole thing wrong. Can we find Joe Strauss to get his side of the story?