Remembering Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith on his 60th birthday
As the owner 13 career Gold Glove awards and one World Series title, former St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith turns 60 years old today. Smith spent 15 seasons with the Cardinals, adding a Hall-of-fame bid to all of his accomplishments in 2002.
Smith was known for his athleticism on the field, eventually developing the nickname “The Wizard” for his abilities. While the shortstop was consistently a fan favorite in the 1980s and early 1990s, most fans tend to remember Smith’s famous backwards flip entrance rather than his greatest feats with the Redbirds. Here are some notable accomplishments that set Ozzie Smith apart from other Cardinals and Hall Of Famers.
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-Smith was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in 1977. He played four seasons with the Friars, before being traded to the Cardinals in a winter 1982 deal involving Garry Templeton.
-Smith was an All-Star representative in 14 of 15 different years with the Cardinals, which gives him the second-most nominations in team history next to Stan Musial’s 20 appearances. In four of those years, the Cardinals made the playoffs.
-“The Wizard” hones the best career defensive WAR in MLB history at 43.4. His most remarkable defensive stats include 8,375 assists, 1,590 double plays and a .978 career fielding percentage.
-The switch-hitter proved to be a valuable offensive force as well. Smith boasts a career .262 batting average with 28 home runs and 793 runs batted in. He won the 1987 Silver Slugger award for best National League shortstop.
-Speed was another valuable asset of Smith. The shortstop swiped 580 bases and scored 1257 runs in his 19 seasons and was one of the catalysts in the Cardinals’ ‘Whiteyball’ playing style of the 1980’s.
-Smith’s only World Series championship came in 1982, but he managed to reach the postseason four times. He also reached the World Series in 1985 and 1987, but lost both in seven game series with the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins respectively.
-Smith’s greatest postseason highlight comes from the 1985 National League Championship Series. In Game 5 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Smith hit a walk off home run in the ninth to help the Cardinals win 3-2 and pull ahead in the Series lead. This hit was Smith’s first career left-handed home run and captivated Jack Buck’s famous “Go Crazy, Folks!” call.
-The shortstop retired in 1996 and places within the Top 5 in more than ten offensive and defensive records for the Cardinals. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall-Of-Fame in 2002.
On his 60th birthday, Ozzie Smith has one of the best presents any baseball player could ever ask for; a memory filled career with Hall-Of-Fame status across St. Louis and Cooperstown.