Al Smith (left-handed pitcher)

Last updated

Al Smith
Pitcher
Born:(1907-10-12)October 12, 1907
Belleville, Illinois
Died: April 28, 1977(1977-04-28) (aged 69)
Brownsville, Texas
Batted: LeftThrew: Left
MLB debut
May 5, 1934, for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
September 15, 1945, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 99–101
Earned run average 3.72
Strikeouts 587
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Alfred John Smith (October 12, 1907 – April 28, 1977) was an American professional baseball player, a left-handed pitcher for the New York Giants (1934–37), Philadelphia Phillies (1938–39) and Cleveland Indians (1940–45) of Major League Baseball.

Contents

Helped halt DiMaggio's hit streak

Smith is remembered for being the starting pitcher who halted Joe DiMaggio's 56-consecutive-game hitting streak on July 17, 1941. DiMaggio grounded out twice to third baseman Ken Keltner, who made outstanding defensive plays in each case, and also drew a base on balls from Smith in three plate appearances. Then, in his final at bat, against relief pitcher Jim Bagby, Jr., DiMaggio bounced into a double play. His New York Yankees won the game, however, 4–3. [1]

Smith also is notable for having served as a nominal coach at age 25 on manager Bill Terry's New York Giants staff in 1933—the year before Smith made his debut as an active player in the Major Leagues. In 1932, Smith had won 17 games in the Class B Piedmont League and was acquired by the Giants. But Terry, realizing he had no room on his 1933 pitching staff, decided to keep Smith on his ball club as a coach and batting practice pitcher, rather than risk losing him in the minor league draft. According to the Associated Press in a January 5, 1934, story, "Smith was tabbed as great prospect last spring, but Terry had so many experienced moundsmen to bank upon that there was no place for the young portsider. Rather than farm him out where he might have been grabbed by some rival club, the Giants elected to carry him as a coach." [2] The same story claims that the 1933 World Champion Giant hitters struggled against Smith's "wide breaking curves" whenever he was called upon to pitch batting practice. [2]

Smith made his Major League pitching debut on May 5, 1934, against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field and allowed one run in two innings pitched in relief of Freddie Fitzsimmons. [3]

Early life and career

Born in Belleville, Illinois, the 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), 180 lb (82 kg) Smith had a 17-year professional career. He helped the Giants win the 1936 and 1937 National League pennants and appeared in relief in the 1936 and 1937 World Series, both against the Yankees, allowing four earned runs in 313 innings pitched. He led the NL in shutouts (four) in 1936.

Smith's best season was in 1943, when he was named to the American League All-Star team and finished 15th in voting for the AL MVP Award for having a 17–7 win–loss record in 29 games (27 started), 14 complete games, three shutouts, two games finished, one save, 20813 innings pitched, 186 hits allowed, 74 runs allowed, 59 earned runs allowed, seven home runs allowed, 72 bases on balls, 72 strikeouts, 862 batters faced, a 2.55 earned run average and a 1.238 WHIP.

In 12 seasons Smith had a 99–101 record, 356 games (202 started), 75 complete games, 16 shutouts, 96 games finished, 17 saves, 1,662 13 innings pitched, 1,707 hits allowed, 827 runs allowed, 688 earned runs allowed, 94 home runs allowed, 587 walks allowed—and the same number of strikeouts—as well as 32 hit batsmen, 27 wild pitches, 7,112 batters faced, 3 balks, a 3.72 ERA and a 1.380 WHIP.

As a hitter, Smith posted a .191 batting average (102-for-535) with 48 runs, 2 home runs, 38 RBI and 51 bases on balls. Defensively, he recorded a .961 fielding percentage.

Al Smith died in Brownsville, Texas, at the age of 69. He is not to be confused with Alfred Kendricks Smith, a right-handed pitcher who appeared in one game for the 1926 Giants.

Related Research Articles

Baseball statistics play an important role in evaluating the progress of a player or team.

Wes Ferrell American baseball player

Wesley Cheek "Wes" Ferrell was an American professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball from 1927 through 1941. Primarily a starting pitcher, Ferrell played for the Cleveland Indians (1927–33), Boston Red Sox (1934–37), Washington Senators (1937–38), New York Yankees (1938–39), Brooklyn Dodgers (1940) and Boston Braves (1941). He batted and threw right-handed. Ferrell's 37 home runs as a batter remain a career record for an MLB pitcher.

Mel Harder American baseball player and manager

Melvin Leroy Harder, nicknamed "Chief", was an American right-handed starting pitcher, coach and manager in Major League Baseball, who played his entire career with the Cleveland Indians. He spent 36 seasons overall with the Indians, as a player from 1928 to 1947 and as one of the game's most highly regarded pitching coaches from 1948 to 1963. He set franchise records for wins (223), games started (433) and innings pitched which were later broken by Bob Feller, and still holds the club record of 582 career games pitched; he was among the American League's career leaders in wins (9th), games (8th) and starts (10th) when he retired. He was also an excellent fielder, leading AL pitchers in putouts four times, then a record.

Bucky Walters American baseball player and manager

William Henry "Bucky" Walters was an American Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher and the 1939 National League Most Valuable Player.

Schoolboy Rowe American baseball player

Lynwood Thomas "Schoolboy" Rowe was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball, primarily for the Detroit Tigers (1932–42) and Philadelphia Phillies. He was a three-time All-Star, and a member of three Tigers' World Series teams.

Harold Dana Gregg was a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1943–47), Pittsburgh Pirates (1948–50) and New York Giants (1952). Gregg batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Anaheim, California.

Bob Muncrief American baseball player

Robert Cleveland Muncrief was an American professional baseball pitcher who appeared in 288 games in Major League Baseball over 12 seasons between 1937 and 1951 with the St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees. Born in Madill, Oklahoma, he batted and threw right-handed and was listed as 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and 190 pounds (86 kg). He is perhaps best known as a key starting pitcher for the 1944 Browns, the only American League team from St. Louis to win a pennant. The following season, in 1945, Muncrief led all Junior Circuit hurlers in winning percentage, posting a .765 mark based on his 13–4 record.

Donald Grate was an American former professional baseball and pro basketball player. He played both Major League Baseball as a right-handed pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies and NBA basketball as a small forward/shooting guard for the Sheboygan Redskins. Grate was listed at 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and 180 pounds (82 kg).

Watty Clark American baseball player

William Watson Clark born in St. Joseph, Louisiana, was a baseball pitcher for the Cleveland Indians (1924), Brooklyn Robins/Dodgers and New York Giants (1933–34).

Hal Schumacher American baseball player

Harold Henry Schumacher, nicknamed "Prince Hal", was an American professional baseball player and right-handed pitcher who appeared in 391 games pitched in Major League Baseball for the New York Giants. A native of Hinckley, a village in Trenton, New York, he was listed as 6 feet (1.83 m) tall and 190 pounds (86 kg).

The 1949 Boston Red Sox season was the 49th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League (AL) with a record of 96 wins and 58 losses, one game behind the New York Yankees, who went on to win the 1949 World Series. The Red Sox set a major league record which still stands for the most base on balls by a team in a season, with 835.

Edward Jack Roebuck was an American professional baseball relief pitcher and scout, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 11 seasons for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Senators and Philadelphia Phillies. He appeared in the World Series with the Dodgers in 1955 and 1956. During his playing days, Roebuck stood 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), weighing 185 lb (84 kg). He threw and batted right-handed.

Ronald Alvin Negray was an American professional baseball player. A right-handed pitcher, he appeared in 66 games in Major League Baseball over four seasons between 1952 and 1958 for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The native of Akron, Ohio, was listed as 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and 185 pounds (84 kg). He graduated from Garfield High School and attended Kent State University.

Joseph Charles Gibbon was an American professional baseball player. A left-handed pitcher, he spent all or parts of 13 seasons (1960–72) in Major League Baseball as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros. Gibbon was born in Hickory, Mississippi; he was listed as 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) tall and 200 pounds (91 kg).

The 1941 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 41st season in the major leagues, and their 42nd season overall. They finished with a record 77–77, good enough for 3rd place in the American League, 24 games behind the first place New York Yankees.

Fernando Pedro "Freddy" Rodríguez Borrego was a Cuban-born professional baseball pitcher who briefly played for the Chicago Cubs (1958) and Philadelphia Phillies (1959) of Major League Baseball. A native of Havana, he was listed as 6 feet (1.83 m) tall and 180 pounds (82 kg); he batted and threw right-handed.

Michael Randall Lee is an American former professional baseball pitcher who appeared in 13 games in Major League Baseball (MLB) over two seasons for the Cleveland Indians (1960) and Los Angeles Angels (1963). He threw and batted left-handed, stood 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m) tall and weighed 220 pounds (100 kg).

Joseph Michael Verbanic is an American former professional baseball right-handed pitcher, who appeared in 92 career games in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the 1966 Philadelphia Phillies and the 1967–1968 and 1970 New York Yankees. He was listed as 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and 155 pounds (70 kg).

Milo Candini American baseball player

Mario Cain "Milo" Candini was an American professional baseball pitcher. A 6 ft (1.83 m), 187 lb (85 kg) right-hander, he played all or part of eight seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Washington Senators and Philadelphia Phillies (1950–51). After Candini’s big league career, he continued to pitch in the Pacific Coast League until 1957, primarily for the Sacramento Solons. All told, Candini’s professional career lasted 20 seasons.

Montia Calvin Kennedy was an American professional baseball player, a left-handed pitcher who appeared in the Major Leagues from 1946 to 1953 for the New York Giants. A native of Amelia, Virginia, Kennedy stood 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg).

References

  1. "Joe DiMaggio: The Streak Dies in Ken Keltner's Glove in Game 57 — The Official Site of Joe DiMaggio". joedimaggio.com. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Al Smith, Without Derby, On Giants' Pitching Staff". Reading Eagle. Reading, Pennsylvania. Associated Press (AP). January 5, 1934. p. 20. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  3. "Pittsburgh Pirates 6, New York Giants 3". retrosheet.org. May 5, 1934. Retrieved February 6, 2020.