Cheap Seats

December 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ozzie Smith

Happy birthday to Ozzie Smith who made his debut on the planet on Dec. 26, 1954. I can't believe The Wizard is 58. It seems like just yesterday I was in high school fretting that he would leave the Cardinals as a free agent because he wanted an outrageous $1 million a year to play baseball. Can you imagine?

Cheap Seats

Looking at the Cards from a fan's perspective

Happy birthday to Ozzie Smith who made his debut on the planet on Dec. 26, 1954.

I can't believe The Wizard is 58. It seems like just yesterday I was in high school fretting that he would leave the Cardinals as a free agent because he wanted an outrageous $1 million a year to play baseball. Can you imagine?

Baseball has changed so much in the nearly two decades since Smith retired that I wonder if one of the greatest players in the history of the game would have even had a chance to be an everyday player in the current era.

In his first four seasons in the majors, Ozzie hit .231 with a .295 on base percentage and a .278 slugging percentage. He hit a total of one home run in those four seasons. It's hard to believe in this stats oriented era that places a heavy emphasis on offense that Smith would be thought of as much of a commodity regardless of his prowess with the glove.

Smith hit .281 with a .358 on base percentage from 1985-93. But it took six seasons for him to break the .260 mark. While I agree with former Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog that a run prevented is as good as a run scored, I just don't believe we would ever have had a chance to see Ozzie bloom offensively and become a complete player if he were born 25 years later.

I'm just glad that we did.

Related content

Comments

Videos

About Cheap Seats

Scott Wuerz has reported for the Belleville News-Democrat since 1998​. He writes about the St. Louis Cardinals from a fan's perspective in his Cheap Seats blog.

Contact him at swuerz@bnd.com.

Sports Videos