Friday, October 30, 2009

Unpossible Autograph: Al Smith

Al Smith 1963 (d. 2002)

Al Smith is probably best remembered in Orioles lore as being one of the players involved in a trade of HOF players between the O's and White Sox than for anything he did on the field for the Birds. He came to the Orioles along with Luis Aparicio on January 14th, 1963 in return for Hoyt Wilhelm, Ron Hansen, Dave Nicholson and Pete Ward.

Don't get me wrong, he was no throw-in in the trade though. He had received MVP votes in the previous three years, including a 6th place finish in 1960; he was also an All-Star for the second time in his career that season. His best season had been 1955 when he led the league in games, plate appearances and runs which earned him a third place MVP finish .

He appeared in 120 games for Baltimore, mostly in RF, and batted .272 with 17 doubles, 10 HRs, 45 runs and 39 RBI. He played in only that one season for the O's and it was definitely the twilight of his career as he only lasted one more season in the Big Leagues after it.

Al is arguably most famous for a picture that was taken during the 1959 World Series when his White Sox were taking on the Dodgers. As he tracked a ball to the outfield wall that ended up sailing out of the field of play, a fan who was going for the ball accidentally spilled his beer all over Al. It was a lot different than the intentional dousing that Shane Victorino received this past season at Wrigley Field but it was a lasting memory for him nonetheless. Al estimated that he signed that picture around 200,000 times in his life.


Steve Gierman said...

I always loved that picture of Smith from the '59 series.

Orioles Magic said...

It is a really cool picture. I bet Al got tired of seeing it over the years. I know I would've after seeing something that many times.