Monday, April 27, 2015

#413 Pete Smith

About the Front: You can see the "P" initial on Pete Smith's nameplate, distinguishing him from teammate Lonnie Smith.

About the Back: I'd forgotten that Pete Smith was drafted by the Phillies. He was traded to the Braves with catcher Ozzie Virgil in exchange for pitcher Steve Bedrosian and outfielder Milt Thompson. There's a handful of 1980s names for you.

Triple Play:

1. Pete fell just short of a complete-game effort in his big league debut on September 8, 1987, getting the hook with two outs in the ninth inning after giving up three San Diego hits to narrow the margin to 4-2. Jim Acker shut the door on the Padres, and young Pete had a win in his first start.

2. Smith could do no wrong once the Braves recalled him from AAA Richmond in August of 1992, winning seven of his 11 starts without a single loss. He reached the sixth inning in all but one of those appearances, averaging seven innings per start.

3. He provided a winning effort in a losing cause in the decisive sixth game of the 1992 World Series, replacing starter Steve Avery in the fifth inning and keeping Toronto scoreless for the next three frames. Atlanta finally tied the score in the bottom of the ninth before succumbing in the 11th.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Pete Smith's career ran aground for good with a trade to the Orioles in June of 1998. He allowed 57 hits, 16 walks, and 31 runs in 45 innings in Baltimore and never pitched in the majors again. He and Kent Mercker served as proof to me that if the Braves let a pitcher go, there was usually a good reason.

Bill James Said: "Smith, after pitching well in April, went 0-5 with a 6.25 ERA in May and June, which helped put the Braves in a deep hole."

On This Date in 1993: April 27. The entire Zambian national football team dies when their plane crashes in Gabon. They had been travelling to Senegal for a scheduled qualifying match for the 1994 World Cup.

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