St. Louis Cardinals Franchise Four: Ozzie Smith
Until May 8, St. Louis Cardinals fans can vote for the top four players in franchise history.
The players from each group that receive the most votes will be honored at this summer’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Cincinnati.
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Today, we profile Ozzie Smith, one of the greatest defensive shortstops of all-time.
Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 4th round of the 1977 amateur draft, Smith would make his career debut on April 7, 1978 with the Padres. On December 10, 1981, the Cardinals franchise would change when Smith was sent over by the Padres in a trade between the two clubs.
A light-hitting shortstop, the switch-hitter only hit five home runs in his career from the left side of the plate against right-handed pitching. While the Wizard hit only 28 home runs during the regular season, his single-most famous home run was the only one that he would hit in the postseason. It was Game 5 of the 1985 National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and including the regular season and postseason, it was the first left-handed home run of his career. Everybody knows Jack Buck’s call by heart.
"“Smith corks one into right, down the line! It may go…Go crazy, folks, go crazy! It’s a home run, and the Cardinals have won the game, by the score of 3 to 2, on a home run by the Wizard! Go crazy!”"
Playing 19 seasons between the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals, the Wizard was selected for 15 All-Star games. From 1980 through 1982, Smith collected the Rawlings Gold Glove Award for National League shortstops for 13 consecutive seasons.
When Smith retired following the 1996 season, he had compiled 2,460 hits and 580 stolen bases in his playing career.
Smith was elected by the BBWAA to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2002 with 91.7% of the vote. Smith’s name appeared on 433 of 472 ballots.
Stay tuned during the rest of the week and next week as Redbird Rants profiles the other candidates being considered for the Franchise Four: Dizzy Dean, Albert Pujols, Red Schoendienst, and Rogers Hornsby. We have previously profiled Lou Brock, Stan Musial, and Bob Gibson.