Osborne Earl Smith (Wizard of Oz)
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 150 lb.
- School California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo
- Debut April 7, 1978
- Final Game September 29, 1996
- Born December 26, 1954 in Mobile, AL USA
When acrobatic shortstop Ozzie Smith came up with the San Diego Padres, he was a light-hitting defensive whiz. He spent the majority of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, and he developed into a respectable hitter. Although he never had much power, Smith delivered when needed; he hit a game-winning homer in Game 5 of the 1985 National League Championship Series. Smith also hit .303 in 1987.
Still, his greatest asset--and the source of his nickname: The Wizard of Oz--was his defense. In recognition of this, he received 13 consecutive Gold Gloves and was named to the Rawlings All-Time Gold Glove Team. He holds numerous records for assists and doubleplays. The Wizard is considered by some to be the greatest defensive shortstop in the history of the game.
Ozzie would sometimes do a back flip when he came out to take his position in the field.
A whole lot of people expected that Ozzie would win the MVP award in 1987. His team had won the division (and went on to the 1987 World Series), and Ozzie had posted a .303 batting average and a .392 on-base percentage, with 40 doubles, 43 stolen bases and 104 runs scored. And, as usual, his range in the field was wildly above average. However, while the MVP voters gave Ozzie 9 first-place votes, they gave Andre Dawson 11 first-place votes in spite of his team finishing last in the division and in spite of Dawson's stats being helped by playing in Wrigley Field.
An amateur singer, Smith contributed a rendition of Sam Cooke's "Cupid" in the 2005 album "Oh Say Can You Sing?" His son Nikko was a contestant on the reality show "American Idol" in 2005.
- Appeared in The Simpsons episode "Homer at the Bat". Quote: "This is a town rich in tradition. You've got the Clydesdales coming in before World Series games. People are getting off the wagon, like Stan Musial, Marty Marion, and Roger Maris. Maybe some day I can come in riding on that wagon." Ozzie Smith.
- 1978 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- 15-time NL All-Star (1981-1992, 1994-1996)
- 1985 NLCS MVP
- 13-time NL Gold Glove Winner (1980-1992)
- NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1987)
- 1989 Lou Gehrig Award
- 1994 Branch Rickey Award
- 1995 Roberto Clemente Award
- NL At-Bats Leader (1981)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1987)
- 50-Stolen Base Seasons: 2 (1980 & 1988)
- Won a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 2002
- Assists, shortstop, career, 8375
- Assists, shortstop, season, 621, 1980
- Double plays, shortstop, career, 1590
- Rick Sorci: "Baseball Profile: Shortstop Ozzie Smith," Baseball Digest (January 1991), p. 49
- Ozzie Smith (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget," Baseball Digest (June 1992), pp. 69-71