Sunday, August 16, 2015


I did not spend a lot of time on cards this weekend, but did spend a few minutes Friday night sorting through a box of old Cardinals cards and autographs I had picked up long ago.  There were a few really cool cards in the box that I had completely forgotten about over the past five or six years, but one really stood out from the rest of the cards.  How did this card end up neglected in a box of cards featuring former Cardinals players like Brendan Ryan, Ryan Ludwick, and Andy Benes?

No idea, but it's been sleeved and placed in a box with some nicer Cardinals cards.  If you are not familiar with Lonnie Smith I will give you a two minute run down on "Skates".  He came up with the Phillies in the early 1980s and was used as an extra outfielder off the bench.  He was actually an important bench player on the 1980 Phillies World Series team.  The Cardinals traded for him before the 1982 season, and like all fast athletic outfielders, Whitey Herzog turned Lonnie Smith loose on the bases.  During his three seasons as a Cardinal he stole 68, 43, and 50 bases.  He played part of the 1985 season in St. Louis and stole 12 more.  Lonnie Smith started the season on the DL and the team called up Triple A outfielder Vince Coleman to fill the void.  Coleman went on to steal 110 bases, Lonnie got traded to the Royals.  

His time as a Cardinal is how I best remember Lonnie Smith.  He was not the biggest base stealing threat on the team, did not have a ton of power, and was not a great defender.  The guy was still a winner and a fan favorite in St. Louis in the mid 80s when I first moved to St. Louis.  I ran into Lonnie Smith again towards the end of his career when he ended up back in the National League with the Braves.  I know baseball fans always remember the core group of pitchers with those 1990s Bobby Cox teams, but Lonnie Smith was an important player at the beginning of that run for the Braves.  

His best year with Atlanta was in 1989 when he hit 21 home runs, a career high, and lead the National League in on-base percentage with a .415 mark.  He put up a .384 mark in 1990 and a .377 mark in 1991.  Lonnie ended his career with the Orioles in 1994 posting almost 1,500 hits and a slash line of .288/.371/.420.  Combine that great on base percentage with 370 steals and it's easy to see why Topps put him in the All-Time Fan Favorites set back in 2005.  Lonnie also ended his career with three World Series rings (1980 Phillies, 1982 Cardinals, 1985 Royals) and two League Championship rings (1991 and 1992 Braves)  Great player.  

1 comment:

  1. Love Lonnie Smith, his signature is great. Nice card