Friday, April 20, 2012

1982 TOPPS REGGIE SMITH

WHAT A BASEBALL CARD SHOULD LOOK LIKE.
PEA SOUP, ANYONE?

THE FRONT PAGE

  • Awesome card of an underrated ballplayer. Reggie Smith was a seven-time All-Star who hit 314 homers, including six in 73 World Series at-bats. He ranks fourth all-time in home runs by a "switcher.''

THE BACK PAGE

  • Topps came up a little short under Smith's batting record. I'm assuming it forgot the stat blurb that's on a lot of the other '82 cards. Too bad. Smith certainly had a lot of numbers to choose from.

PHOTO PLAY

  • Where to begin? The blue Vero Beach sky is perfect. The autograph is artsy. You have a background of players in spring training. And I don't think it was an accident Reggie turned the barrel of the bat to get the Louisville Slugger logo in the frame. This card's a hit. No, it's a home run.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • In 8,050 career plate appearances, Smith had an on-base average plus slugging percentage (a sabermetric measurement of batting production) of 137, which equates to him being 37 percent better than his league's averages. 
  • His lifetime on-base percentage was .366, and his slugging percentage .489. Only one switch-hitter in history ranks higher in OPS+, Mickey Mantle.
  • Smith was a lifetime .287 hitter and finished with 1,092 RBI.
  • Had an outstanding arm and in '70 had 15 outfield assists.
  • Reggie was the unwitting subject of the famous '78 clubhouse scuffle between Steve Garvey and Don Sutton, who said, among other things, Smith was more valuable to the Dodgers than Garvey. By the way, Garvey's career OPS+ was 116. 
  • '82 was Smith's final year in the majors, and he spent it with the Giants, hitting .284 with 18 HRs and 56 RBI. He played his final two years in Japan.
  • Played his first seven full seasons in Boston, which back in the day was not the most friendliest of cities to black players. Despite this, he hit 149 HRs and drove in 536.
  • He was traded in October 1973 to the Cardinals along with Ken Tatum for Bernie Carbo and Rick Wise. In June 1976, he landed with the Dodgers in a trade involving Joe Ferguson and two others.
  • Worked as a technical consultant on Billy Crystal's movie 61 about the '61 home run record chase between Roger Maris and Mantle.
  • Smith played at least 70 games in 13 seasons and each team finished with a winning record and he played in four World Series, winning in '81 with L.A. 
  • Currently operates Reggie Smith Baseball Centers in Encino, Calif., which provides individual and group instruction for players of all ages and skill levels.

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