Lonnie Smith was born on Thursday, December 22, 1955, in Chicago, Illinois. Smith was 22 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 2, 1978, with the Philadelphia Phillies. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Lonnie Smith baseball stats page.
"I can still hit. I can still run. I can still make errors." - Lonnie Smith (Denying he was washed up & quoted by Bill James in the New Historical Baseball Abstract )
Lonnie "Skates" Smith Autograph on a 1987 Topps Baseball Card (#69)
Lonnie Smith Pitching Stats
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Lonnie Smith Hitting Stats
Lonnie Smith Fielding Stats
Lonnie Smith Miscellaneous Stats
|Baserunning Statistics||Other Positions||Common Hitting Ratios||Common Pitching Ratios|
Lonnie Smith Miscellaneous Items of Interest
|Team [Click for Roster]||Uniform Numbers||Salary||All-Star||World Series|
|1978 Philadelphia Phillies||27||$22,200.00||-||-|
|1979 Philadelphia Phillies||27||$24,600.00||-||-|
|1980 Philadelphia Phillies||27||$41,000.00||-||Stats|
|1981 Philadelphia Phillies||27||$125,000.00||-||-|
|1982 St. Louis Cardinals||27||$240,000.00||Stats||Stats|
|1983 St. Louis Cardinals||27||$500,000.00||-||-|
|1984 St. Louis Cardinals||27||$630,000.00||-||-|
|1985 St. Louis Cardinals||27||$740,000.00||-||-|
|1985 Kansas City Royals||21||" "||-||Stats|
|1986 Kansas City Royals||21||$1,000,000.00||-||-|
|1987 Kansas City Royals||21||$500,000.00||-||-|
|1988 Atlanta Braves||6||$450,000.00||-||-|
|1989 Atlanta Braves||27||$400,000.00||-||-|
|1990 Atlanta Braves||27||$1,458,334.00||-||-|
|1991 Atlanta Braves||27||$2,041,667.00||-||Stats|
|1992 Atlanta Braves||27||$1,750,000.00||-||Stats|
|1993 Pittsburgh Pirates||27||$1,000,000.00||-||-|
|1993 Baltimore Orioles||27||" "||-||-|
|1994 Baltimore Orioles||39||$750,000.00||-||n/a|
|Lonnie Smith Stats by Baseball Almanac|
Did you know that Lonnie Smith is one of only eight players in Major League history to have played for
the American and National League teams that reached the
during the same season? Did you know that of the elite eight, only three of them actually appeared in a
game for one of the two teams (they appear below in bold print)?
Getting a World Series Ring - Win or Lose
|Name||Team 1||Team 2||
|Arthur Rhodes||Texas Rangers||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Chris Ray||Texas Rangers||San Francisco Giants||2010 World Series|
|Bengie Molina||San Francisco Giants||Texas Rangers|
|Jim Bruske||New York Yankees||San Diego Padres|
|Lonnie Smith||Kansas City Royals||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Sid Monge||Detroit Tigers||San Diego Padres|
|Johnny Schmitz||New York Yankees||Brooklyn Dodgers|
|Jack Kramer||New York Yankees||New York Giants|
Lonnie Smith is the only player in baseball history to play in four different World Series with four different teams. Skates won a ring with three of those four teams (Philadelphia, St. Louis and Kansas City), joining the "3-Rings with 3-Teams Club" - Nick Altrock , George Burns , Steve Carlton , Jay Johnstone , Dolf Luque , Stuffy McInnis , Jack Morris , Herb Pennock and Wally Schang . In that "club", only Lonnie won all of his Fall Classic rings within the same decade (and he did it in a six-year period; 1980 , 1982 and 1985 ).
Lonnie Smith won the Comeback Player of the Year Award in 1989, the second player from the Atlanta Braves to earn the honor ( Davey Johnson in 1973 was first). New York Times staff writer David Falkner wrote the following insightful article ( link ) about Skates, his drug abuse problems, and his comeback:
The Comeback Of Lonnie Smith
Remembering his first days as a ballplayer, Lonnie Smith, the 33-year-old hot-hitting Braves outfielder, said that he once had a desire to wear a single earring.
He never did because he was afraid of being ridiculed. "It was something at the time that seemed beautiful to me," he said. "It was an old African custom which represented a coming into manhood."
Smith's passing into manhood, though, has been anything but ceremonial or customary. It has been a journey to a lost place and then back again. After tonight's game here against the Expos he was Atlanta's leading hitter at .332, the fourth-highest average in the National League. Heading into this weekend's series with the Mets in New York, he is among the league leaders in six other offensive categories.
But eighteen months ago, he was a man looking for work, a ballplayer, once an All-Star, turned down by 26 teams who thought he was too old and too shopworn to play. "He is probably the biggest story in baseball right now, though not that many people are on to it," said Russ Nixon , the Braves' manager.
Though it has been six years since his journey between peaks began, Smith, then a 27-year-old star outfielder with the St. Louis Cardinals, remembers the first steps as though they had just been taken.
"It was just before a game in Philadelphia," he recalled. "I hadn't slept for three nights. I walked into Whitey Herzog's office and I was in tears. I told Whitey I couldn't play anymore. I told him that I had a cocaine problem and that I needed help."
On the spot, Herzog picked up a phone and made a call and within 48 hours, Smith began a well-publicized monthlong stay in a rehabilitation center in St. Louis. He resumed his career immediately afterward but it was the beginning, not the end, of a slow and steep descent into a world devoid af answers, or even of real hope.
"I was an addict the very first time I took drugs, never mind all that stuff about its being a gradual thing," Smith said. "I started for the usual reasons: because I was curious, because I thought it was the thing to do, but the big thing was I couldn't stop. And then I literally couldn't get through the day without it."
Within a year of his rehabilitation, Smith's on-field performance slipped. Though he finished the 1983 season hitting .321, he hit only .250 the following season and by the next year was traded to the Kansas City Royals, where he picked up his third World Series ring.
But 1985 was also the year he was asked to appear before a grand jury in Pittsburgh investigating drug use in baseball. Though he had not used drugs since his rehabilitation, he was one of several players - Keith Hernandez and Dave Parker were others - fined and suspended by Peter Ueberroth, the commissioner of baseball.
Smith believed the decision in his case - because he had voluntarily sought help - was unfair but, more important, showed that beyond simply getting users clean again baseball had no real plan to help players with drug problems.
"Even in terms of testing, I had to ask for it," he said. "I wanted to be monitored, but there weren't even provisions for that." But something even more insidious was threatening Smith's career. His once brilliant promise was beginning to fade.
He finished 1986 hitting .287, far below his career average, and his usual standard of more than 40 steals a year slipped to 26. A year later, Bo Jackson arrived in Kansas City and Smith, who had spent seven years in the minors, was just another Triple A player. The year following, he was no player at all. The Royals, believing that his talents were gone, gave him his unconditional release.
"My agent called everyone and was turned down cold, and then I got on the phone myself," Smith said. Midway through spring training in 1988, Bobby Cox of the Braves called Smith back and offered him a minor league contract. He gratefully accepted.
"When Lonnie showed up in minor league camp, he weighed a little too much, he was definitely out of shape, but you never saw anyone try so hard," said Nixon , who was then managing the Braves' Double A team in Greenville, S.C. "Smith was in my training group, and he actually got sick from all the running he was put through. It was really hard on him."
Smith remembers being out of shape and getting sick from running in those first days but he swears he was not overweight. "It was just that minor league uniforms didn't fit all that well," he said, with a wry smile. Smith had a solid year for the Richmond Braves in 1988, enough to earn him a spot on the big team in 1989.
If he is a step slower, (playing with injuries to both ankles, he has 15 steals ), his bat is, if anything quicker. "He probably has the fastest bat coming through the strike zone of any player in the National League with the possible exception of Kevin Mitchell ," said Nixon .
Age may have also added a shrewder sense of when to turn on a ball. Never having hit more than 8 home runs in a major league season, Smith has 14. And his hits have tended to be big ones: his two-out two-run single in the seventh inning Tuesday night capped the Braves' winning rally against the Expos and his ninth-inning home run on Friday ruined Sid Fernandez's 16-strikeout performance.
''If they still had that game-winning r.b.i. stat,'' Nixon said, ''he'd probably be leading the league. He's accounted for 50 percent of our wins, and even on our team that's a lot.''
For Smith, aside from a tremendous pride in craft and a desire to keep earning a living, the reasons for his remarkable turnaround probably lie more in what he has gone through off the field than on. He simply knows more about who he is and where he has been.
His father, who died of cancer two years ago, and his grandmother, were alcoholics. Their lives, their pain, have become incentives - and a warning - in his own quest to remain drug free. ''One of the things I now know, is my addiction, whatever choices were involved, also was inherited,'' he said. ''That means I will have to pay attention to it for as long as I live.''
Smith said he wanted to play baseball for another two to five years but that, even more, his goal was to establish a secure life on the other side of the nightmare he has been through. He may have already done that. He is about to be remarried. A year or so ago, before he began his comeback, he asked his fiancee an innocent question: ''What do you think of a man who wears an earring?'' Her answer, he said, was that it would be beautiful.
He has been wearing an earring ever since.
On September 4, 1982 , Lonnie Smith stole five bases in a single game setting the franchise record for steals in a game for the St. Louis Cardinals and joining the Most Stolen Bases in a Game record book section - one of the elite few to steal at least five bases in a game.