Monday, March 16, 2009

Smiths Of Baseball: Art Smith (Arthur Laird Smith)

7. Art Smith. (1932)

In 1923, Lou Gehrig struck out 17 batters in a game pitching for Columbia University. Two years later, another two-sport athlete starred for the Lions on the mound. Art Smith was Columbia's ace during his time there, 1925 to 1928.

For the next few seasons, the Boston native pitched in the International League with the Jersey City Skeeters, the Montreal Royals, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. In early June of 1932, the Chicago White Sox, 16.5 games out of first place and coming off a brawl with an umpire which resulted in the suspension of a pitcher, came callin'. They sent a coupla Hals (McKain and Anderson) to Toronto, getting Smith in return.

Art made his major league debut on June 9th. He was the starting pitcher for Chicago at Comiskey park against the Washington Senators: six runs on eight hits and four walks over five innings, and a loss. At the plate, he struck out in what would turn out to be his only major league at bat.

Art Smith would appear in two more big league games, his final one being a start on June 13th against the last-place Red Sox, in which he didn't make it out of the first inning. A newspaper article from June 20th said he'd get his third start, but for whatever reason, it never happened. He soon found himself back on the Toronto club. He finished 1932 with an 11-13 record for the Leafs. His lifetime ERA in seven major league innings was 11.57.

I don't see any references to Art Smith after 1934, when he returned to the Montreal Royals. There are some mentions of an Art Smith pitching for the semi-pro Paramount Cubs in 1943, when our Art would have been 37, so maybe he kept right on pitching.

Art Smith died in Norwalk, Connecticut, in 1995, at age 89.

Photo (which I still can't believe I dug up) from The New York Times, 4/8/1928, taken during Columbia's 12-6 loss to Manhattan College.

Previous Smiths: #6, #5, #4, #3, #2 & #1.



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