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Chuck Smith

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Charles Edward Smith

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[edit] Biographical Information

Chuck Smith is a former Major League baseball player. A long-time minor leaguer, he spent time in all levels of pro ball (including independent baseball and international baseball) as both a starter and reliever.

[edit] 1991-1994: Astros minor leaguer

He signed with the Houston Astros originally in 1991. He debuted with the GCL Astros that season and went 4-3 with a 3.49 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings. Moving on to the Asheville Tourists, he had a 9-9, 5.18 record. Chuck was 7-5 with a 4.64 ERA for the Quad City River Bandits in 1993. Smith moved to the bullpen in 1994 and went 4-4 with a 3.72 ERA in 35 games (two starts) for the Osceola Astros. He also threw in two games for the Jackson Generals, making his AA debut.

[edit] 1995-1997: Replacement player and White Sox system

Smith was taken in the minor league section of the 1994 Rule V Draft by the Chicago White Sox. He was a replacement player in the 1995 strike for the White Sox, joining Oil Can Boyd in the staff rotation. Perhaps his best minor league season was 1995 with the South Bend Silver Hawks, when he went 10-10 with a 2.67 ERA. He also struck out 145 batters in 167 innings that year. He finished fourth in the Midwest League in ERA.

In 1996, Smith split the year between three Chicago farm teams. He was 6-6 as a starter for the Prince William Cannons, with a 4.01 ERA in 20 outings. He went 2-1 with one save and a 2.64 ERA in 7 games for the Birmingham Barons and allowed two runs in 2/3 of an inning for the Nashville Sounds.

The next season, he did a good job relieving for Birmingham (2-2, 3.16 in 25 games and 62 2/3 IP) but struggled with Nashville (0-3, 8.81 in 20 games).

[edit] 1998: One year, three countries

Chuck was all over the world in 1998, making stops in Taiwan, Mexico and the USA. He had a 54.00 ERA in two outings for the President Lions of the Chinese Professional Baseball League, was 5-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 8 games for the Sioux Falls Canaries of the Northern League and was 4-0 with a 3.08 ERA in 12 outings for the Torreon Cotton Dealers of the Mexican League, though he walked 44 and threw 12 wild pitches in 61 1/3 innings.

[edit] 1999-2000: Oklahoma is the place to be

After failing to make the Colorado Rockies chain out of spring training, Smith was signed by the Texas Rangers and assigned to the Oklahoma RedHawks. He was 5-4 with 4 saves and a 2.96 ERA for the RedHawks and only walked 28 in 85 innings. He completed two of four starts and made 28 relief appearances. At age 29, he had his first significant year at AAA.

In 1999-2000, Chuck went 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA for the Bayamon Cowboys and tied Frank Rodriguez for the Puerto Rican League lead in victories.

In 2000, Smith was 5-3 with a 3.78 ERA in 11 starts for Oklahoma with 73 strikeouts and 38 walks in 66 2/3 IP. He was then traded to the Florida Marlins for Brant Brown.

[edit] 2000-2001: Marlins and the majors

After years in the minors, he finally reached the Major Leagues at the age of 30. His Major League debut (June 30, 2000) was impressive - in 6 innings of work, he gave up 6 hits, struck out 6 and only allowed one earned run - a home run by Ron Gant in the first inning, which was also the first hit he ever gave up. He got a no-decision. He won his first MLB game on July 27 of that year against the Atlanta Braves - in 5 innings of work, he walked four, struck out two, gave up six hits but still managed a win. He completed his first game on September 23, 2000 against the Colorado Rockies - albeit, it was a shortened game. He finished his rookie season with a 6-6 record and a 3.23 ERA. The 2000 Marlins surprise even got a vote for the Rookie of the Year Award that year.

Described as being "...on top of his game when he moves his pitches around...with his incredible control," Smith "...smokes his fastball past hitters up high and induces pathetic ground balls with his low off-speed stuff." He apparently lost some of that skill in 2001 as went 5-5 with an ERA that jumped to 4.70. Some of it was likely a change in luck too as his secondary stats were similar except for a higher home run rate. He gave up the 16th home run in Barry Bonds' record-breaking 2001 season, when Bonds hit 73 homers. He played his final Major League game on July 24, 2001. Overall, he was 11-11 with a fine 113 ERA+ in the majors.

Smith also spent time in 2001 with the Calgary Cannons (2-0, 2.84 in two starts) and the Brevard County Manatees (3.38 ERA in two starts).

[edit] 2002-2004: Back in the minors

Colorado bought Smith's contract for the second time, but he only made four starts for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, going 1-0 with a 1.02 ERA despite "okay" secondary stats in four starts, then was released. In 2003, he spent less than a week in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, then moved on to the Atlanta Braves chain. He made three starts for the Greenville Braves (1-2, 3.38, .215 opponent average) and three for the Richmond Braves (1-0, 2.00, .203 opponent average). Presumably, he was injured for much of 2002 and 2003.

Atlanta let Chuck go but re-signed him for 2004. He went 9-4 with a 3.72 ERA for the Richmond Braves and walked just 47 while fanning 129 in 142 2/3 IP. He tied Alex Graman for the International League lead in strikeotus that year.

[edit] 2005: Korea

Smith started 2005 with the Doosan Bears and went 4-6 with a 4.55 ERA but struck out only 45 in 115 innings.

[edit] 2005: The minors again

Chuck then signed with the Baltimore Orioles but went only 2-7 with a 5.37 ERA in 11 starts for the Ottawa Lynx.

[edit] Facts

  • He wore two numbers in his major-league career: 23 (2000) and 45 (2001)
  • He earned $175,000 in 2000. He earned $240,000 in 2001.
  • He was teammates with Ryan Glynn for four years - longer than any other teammate.

[edit] Quotes about Smith

  • "Inconsistency has been the bane of his existence from the minors to the majors."-TSN.ca
  • "His potential appears to have tapped out. He's a decent major-league middle reliever at best."-TSN.ca

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