Great Baseball Moments- The Wizard Of Oz- was certainly an appropriate nickname for shortstop Ozzie Smith. I have been watching baseball since 1967 and while there have been a number of great fielding shortstops over that time- Ozzie was without question the best. He will always be remembered for his years as a St. Louis Cardinal, he did play the final 15 years of his 19 year career with the Red Birds but he started his career in San Diego with the Padres. When the Cardinals and Padres after the 1981 season made the deal Ozzie Smith for Garry Templeton it was overwhelmingly thought that the Padres had gotten the best of the deal. While Ozzie was a great fielder in San Diego he wasn’t much of a hitter. In his first four seasons he hit over .230 only once. Templeton was a young star with the Cardinals who had gotten in Whitey Herzog’s doghouse-and The White Rat felt he had to move Templeton on. As it turned out the Cardinals got the best of the deal. Templeton straightened himself up in San Diego but was hampered by injuries. Smith became an important part of the Cardinals becoming the most successful team in the National League in that decade. Ozzie also started hitting for a higher average and stealing a lot of bases- and of course the glove was always there. Ozzie Smith won 13 Gold Glove Awards in a row- his final two seasons in San Diego and his first eleven in St. Louis. He also made 15 All-Star Games in a row and was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
The one play that Ozzie is best remembered for happened back in his rookie season with the Padres. In a game against the Atlanta Braves- Jeff Burroughs is up- I will let Ozzie describe what happened and then you can see this remarkable play.