Sunday, May 7, 2017

Project Durham Bulls #13: Zane Smith

1983 Durham Bulls 

Zane Smith was drafted out of Indiana State by the Braves in the third round of the 1982 MLB Draft. That summer he pitched half of a season with the Anderson Braves which was the team's Low A Ball team in the South Atlantic League.  For his first full season in professional baseball in 1983 the Braves sent Smith to Durham.  While playing for the Bulls he posted a 9-15 record in 27 games, all starts, with 126 strikeouts in 170.2 innings.  Not his best season, but the Braves bumped Smith up to Double A for the start of the 1984 season, and by the end of the year, he was pitching in Atlanta.  Smith went on the have a nice 13 year career pitching for the Braves, Pirates, Expos, and Red Sox.  His best season was probably 1990 which was split between the Expos and Pirates.  While Smith's record was only 12-9, but his ERA was just 2.55.  Smith also had a great NLCS in 1991 with the Pirates allowing just 1 run in 14 inning during the series against the Braves.  

The Durham Bulls became the Devil Rays Triple A in 1998.  Many of the players on the Bulls teams for the past 20 years are relatively easy to find.  Prior to becoming a Rays affiliate, the Bulls had spent almost 20 years as the Braves entry in the Carolina League.  The Braves cards are a little bit harder to find, especially the players from the 1980s Bulls teams, but several of the mid/late 1990s mega autograph sets have a few of the players in them.  I'm glad that Zane Smith was in a Pirates uniform for this set and not a Red Sox card since he had spent 1995 in Boston.  Nothing wrong with the Red Sox, but this is the way I remember Zane Smith.  (Would have also been fine with an Expos card).   

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