Wednesday, June 01, 2011

#22 Charlie Smith

#22 Charlie Smith
I'm back from a short getaway to my family's cottage in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and I'm diving into a four-card package from Rick Rodriguez. Last August, Rick sent me these cards as thanks for allowing him to use some excerpts from this blog on his own site. Always glad to help! Looking at this particular card, it's hard to tell whether the photographer was more interested in capturing Charlie Smith's likeness or a detailed close-up of the 1964 World's Fair patch on his sleeve. It is a great logo, if you ask me. Topps strikes again, by the way; most other sources list the spelling of his first name as "Charley".

Fun facts about Charley Smith:

-Charley was born in Charleston, SC, and signed with the Dodgers at age 19 in 1957.

-In his first look at AAA, he hit .322 with 35 doubles, 20 home runs, and 106 RBI for Spokane in 1960. The Dodgers gave him an 18-game look that September, and he batted .167 (10-for-60) with 5 RBI. Two of those RBI came in his debut on September 8 in a 7-4 win over the Reds.

-Just a month into the 1961 season, Smith was traded to the Phillies, who made him their regular third baseman. Overall, he hit .248 with 11 homers and 50 RBI, earning a spot on the Topps All-Star Rookie team.

-After appearing in only 71 games in parts of three seasons with the White Sox, he was dealt to the Mets in April 1964. He batted .239 with 20 home runs and 58 RBI, leading the New Yorkers in longballs. However, he struck out 101 times and walked just 19 times.

-Charley had a pair of two-homer games in his career. On August 17, 1964, he took Bob Veale and John Gelnar deep to account for four runs in the Mets' 5-0 win over Pittsburgh. Three years later, he again drove in four runs in a 5-0 victory for a New York team; this time it was for the Yankees, and the opposing pitchers were Tommy John and Hoyt Wilhelm of the White Sox.

-Playing regularly for another anemic Mets team in 1965, Smith hit .244 with 16 homers and a team-high 62 RBI.

-He started 100 games at third base for St. Louis in 1966 and hit a personal-best .266 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI.

-To the consternation of Bronx fans, Charley was traded to the Yankees straight-up for a declining Roger Maris in 1967. He carried a paltry .224/.278/.336 batting line in New York that season, scraping across 27 extra-base hits in 425 at-bats.

-After playing sparingly for the Yanks in 1968, he appeared in two games with the Cubs the following season, bringing his career to a close. In parts of 10 seasons, he hit .239 with 69 home runs and 281 RBI.

-Following a knee surgery in 1994, Charley died in hospital care. He was only 57 years old.
#22 Charlie Smith (back)

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