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Al Smith Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: February 7, 1928 in Kirkwood, Missouri
Died: January 3, 2002 in Hammond, Indiana
Player Career
Bat: Right Throw: Right Height: 6' 0.5" Weight: 189
First Game: July 10, 1953 ; Final Game: October 4, 1964
Biography | show moreshow less
Al Smith This article was written by Gary Livacari and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research Al Smith was an accomplished ballplayer whose major-league career spanned 12 seasons with four American League teams. Primarily an outfielder, he played six positions as a major leaguer and was a fine defender with a strong arm and good speed. Smith finished with a .272 lifetime batting average, hit 164 home runs, and reached base nearly 36 percent of the time. He also made two All-Star teams and played for two pennant winners (both managed by Al Lopez). He hit a career-best .315 in 1960 and posted his biggest power numbers—28 homers and 93 RBIs—in 1961. But despite his considerable on-field accomplishments, he will always be best remembered as the unwitting subject in one of baseball‘s most lasting images: the "beer-bath" photo from Game Two of the 1959 World Series. When Smith died in 2002, his obituary in the New York Times was headlined, "Al Smith, 73, Dies; Was Doused in Series."Alphonse Eugene Smith was born on February 7, 1928, in Kirkwood, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb. He grew up a fan of both local big-league teams, the Cardinals and the Browns, and his hero was Cardinals outfielder Joe Medwick. Nicknamed "Fuzzy," Smith was a versatile, multitalented athlete at Douglas High in Webster Groves, Missouri. The MVP of the baseball team, he also starred in football, basketball, and track, and was a Golden Gloves boxing champion in the 160-pound division. Smith scored 33 touchdowns in one football season and was reputed to have scored 10 touchdowns in one game.Upon his graduation in 1946, Smith signed with the Negro American League's Cleveland Buckeyes. Because he was only 17, his mother had to sign his contract. In his first full season with the Buckeyes, in 1947, he shifted from third base to shortstop and batted .285 while leading the league with 27 doubles and 11 triples, and finishing second with 12 home runs. The Buckeyes, managed by Quincy Trouppe, posted a pennant-winning 54-23 record and played in the Negro League World Series (losing to the New York Cubans). Smith changed positions again in 1948, this time to the outfield. That summer, he caught the eye of Cleveland Indians scout Laddie Placek, who had been dispatched to old League Park to evaluate pitcher Sam "Toothpick" Jones. On July 11, Placek signed both Jones and Smith to major-league contracts.
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