Monday, February 11, 2013

Reggie Smith (#61)

Since I posted Walt Williams' card some time ago, I'm skipping ahead to center fielder Reggie Smith.

Reggie Smith was the starting center fielder for the AL champion Red Sox during his rookie season. His rookie card appears in the 1967 set. My guess is that it's the 3rd most valuable rookie card (after Tom Seaver and Rod Carew) because unlike most Rookie Stars cards that include a hit and a miss (or 2 misses), it portrays 2 starting position players for the AL champs.

Smith was signed by the Twins in June 1963, and played 65 games as a shortstop for their rookie-level team. After the season he was selected by the Red Sox in the first-year player draft.

Reggie played 3 seasons in Boston's farm system, as an outfielder for 430 games, but also saw time at 3rd base (66 games) and 2nd base (37 games). He made his debut with the Red Sox in September 1966, playing in 6 games.

Smith began the 1967 season as the starting 2nd baseman, but after 6 games he was moved to center field (replacing Jose Tartabull) and went on to start 139 games in Center that season. Reggie finished 2nd to Rod Carew in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, and was 6-for-24 with 2 homers in the '67 World Series.

Reggie was a starting outfielder for the Sox from 1967 through 1973, usually the center fielder, except for the first half of 1971 (Smith played right, with Billy Conigliaro in center) and all of 1972, when he was the regular right fielder (with Tommy Harper in center). He also made the '69 and '72 all-star teams, and led the AL in doubles in '68 and '71.

After the 1973 season, Reggie was traded to the Cardinals (with pitcher Ken Tatum) for pitcher Rick Wise and outfielder Bernie Carbo. His stay in St. Louis lasted 2 1/2 seasons. In '74 he was the right fielder, and in '75 split his time between RF and 1st base. Smith made the NL all-star team in both his full seasons with the Cards.

He was traded to the Dodgers in June 1976 for catcher Joe Ferguson. Smith was with the Dodgers for 5 1/2 seasons, making the all-star team 3 more times (for a total of 7 appearances).

His final major-league season was spent with the Giants in 1982 as their first baseman.

Smith played 2 more seasons in Japan before retiring.

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