Ozzie Smith is known in baseball as “The Wizard” and the best defensive shortstop of all time. He was a first ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.
Smith retired from baseball in 1996 after playing 19 years in the major leagues, the first four years with the San Diego Padres and the final fifteen with the St. Louis Cardinals. His nickname describes the way he played shortstop—he performed magic with his glove and performed in the infield with amazing acrobatic agility.
Smith broke countless records during his nineteen years in the majors:
All-time assist leader at shortstop with 8,375 assists
All-time leader at turning double plays, with 1,590
13 consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, signifying the best at his position
Started at shortstop for 10 consecutive years in the All Star Game, and was the number one vote getter over-all for the 1987 and 1988 All Star Games.
Other noteworthy baseball accomplishments include:
Earned his 2000th hit in 1992, finishing his career with 2,460 hits
Consistently one of the toughest hitters to strike out and in 1994 joined his friend Eddie Murray as the only two active players with seventeen straight 100 hit seasons.
Was named to the All Century 100 Best Baseball Players of the 20th Century by Major League Baseball.
Selected as the shortstop on the 50 year Anniversary Rawlings Gold Glove Team and inducted into the Rawlings Gold Glove Hall of Fame in 2011.
2001 recipient of the “Walter Payton Sweetness Award”, a Victor Award given to an athlete who has contributed to his community as well as being recognized in his particular sport.
1995 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award, the humanitarian award of Major League Baseball
1994 recipient of the Branch Rickey Award, personifying “Service Above Self”
1992 St. Louis Man of the Year, a prestigious civic award never before given to an athlete.
1986 Father of the Year Honors Group Award
1983 NAACP Image Award for Sportsmanship, Humanitarianism, and Community Involvement.
Currently, Smith serves on the Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Smith also serves as the Education Ambassador for the Baseball Hall of Fame and headlines a fundraiser, “Play Ball with Ozzie Smith” every year in Cooperstown during Induction week end. Locally, he serves as President of PGA REACH Gateway, an organization that reaches out to inner city youth and our military via mentoring and golf programs.
Smith is currently the host of “Cardinals Insider”, a weekly news magazine television show airing in multiple markets throughout the Cardinal territory. Since retirement from baseball Smith succeeded Mel Allen as host of This Week in Baseball, was the color analyst for Cardinal broadcasts in 1997-1999, and served as the baseball analyst for CNNSI, a joint venture between CNN and Sports Illustrated from 1999 to 2002.
In May, 2017 the Ozzie Smith IMAC Regeneration Center opened in Chesterfield, Missouri. This Center establishes personalized protocols for patients using physical therapy, chiropractics, platelet rich plasma, spine decompression, and stem cell rejuvenation in pain management and treatment. Smith is a partner in this business and has always believed in alternative methods of healing.
In 1998, 1999 and 2001 Smith was cast in three theatrical productions at The Municipal Theatre in St. Louis. He had a cameo role in “Damn Yankees” in 1998. In 1999 he sang and tap danced in “The Muny Goes British” a musical revue based on songs from various Broadway musicals, and in 2001 he starred as The Wizard in The Muny’s production of “The Wizard of Oz”.
Smith has three children and one granddaughter and makes St. Louis his home because he feels a deep responsibility to give back to the community that has so enriched his life.
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