Keith Smith (smithke01)

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Keith Lavarne Smith

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Biographical Information[edit]

Keith Smith played outfield in the big leagues during 1977 and 1979-1980. He was drafted twice before signing with a major league club. He was initially taken in the seventh round of the January 1972 amateur draft by the St. Louis Cardinals out of college, but did not sign. After being drafted by the Texas Rangers in the secondary phase of the June 1972 draft, he did sign.

Smith had a nine-year minor league career where he hit approximately .295 with at least 77 home runs. He played in the Rangers, Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets and New York Yankees systems.

On August 2, 1977, Smith made his major league debut with the Rangers at the age of 24. He had five plate appearances in his first game, going hitless in three at-bats with a walk and run scored off Chicago White Sox pitcher Lerrin LaGrow. Less than two weeks later, on August 12th, he hit the first home run of his major league career, also off LaGrow. Most of his major league at-bats came that season. Although the team had four managers that year, it won 94 games on the strength of a pitching staff that included Gaylord Perry, Doyle Alexander and Bert Blyleven. All of Keith's appearances in the field were in left field, where the regular was Claudell Washington.

He did not play in the majors in 1978, spending the entire season with the Triple-A Tucson Toros. On February 12, 1979, he was traded to the Cardinals for pitcher Tommy Toms. He spent most of the season in the minors, hitting .350 and stealing 30 bases in 119 games for the Springfield Redbirds. He did come up to the majors for a few games that season, and had a final look, also with the Cardinals, in 1980.

He is not to be confused with a later player named Keith Smith, who played infield for the New York Yankees.

His brother, Bobby Smith, was an outfielder in the New York Mets chain.

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