Greg Smith (minors03)
Gregory Lee Smith
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 180 lb.
- School Southern University
Greg Smith was a minor league first baseman for 14 years, 8 of them at AAA, but never made the majors. He also played in Italy.
Smith was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 13th round of the 1980 amateur draft. Debuting with the Lethbridge Dodgers that year, he hit .364/.423/.511. He was third in the Pioneer League in average behind Randy Ready and Jessie Reid, led in hits (99) and tied for the most game-winning RBI, 8. He also led the league's first basemen in fielding percentage (.987), putouts (552( and assists (48). He was named the circuit's All-Star first baseman, starting his pro career on a great note.
Greg split 1981 between the Vero Beach Dodgers (.273/.336/.410 in 60 G) and Lodi Dodgers (.295/.338/.452 in 68 G). He spent 1982 with Lodi (.270/.324/.430 in 72 G) and the San Antonio Dodgers (.221/.262/.375 in 44 G). After struggling at AA in '82, he was back in A ball for all of 1983 and did very well for Lodi, hitting .317/.366/.484 with 89 runs, 19 homers and 109 RBI. He finished 5th in the California League in average, between Alvaro Espinoza and Kirby Puckett and was second in RBI, six behind Stan Holmes. He led first basemen in assists (109), errors (27) and double plays (114). He again was honored as the All-Star first baseman for his league.
After another poor run with San Antonio, Smith's career in the Dodgers chain was over. He ended the year in the San Diego Padres organization. Overall for the year, he was 10 for 69 with two doubles (albeit with 17 walks) between San Antonio and the Beaumont Golden Gators and he also hit .354/.431/.534 in 52 games for the Miami Marlins, again dominating A ball. The California native spent all of 1985 with Beaumont and solved AA, batting .317/~.385/.505 with 30 doubles. He led the Texas League with 11 intentional walks and finished 5th in average, behind Billy Jo Robidoux, Mike Aldrete, Dave Klipstein and Jeff Hamilton. He failed to make the All-Star team as Robidoux was also a first baseman.
In 1986, Smith moved up to AAA and did very well, hitting .309/~.367/.469 for the Las Vegas Stars while changing to the outfield. He did not get called up as the Padres had Tony Gwynn and Kevin McReynolds as their corner outfielders and Steve Garvey at first base. Greg was still only 26 years old and might have had a shot at the majors in a new organization in 1987. Signing with the Texas Rangers, that chance vanished with an awful year for the Oklahoma City 89ers (.219/.277/.342 in 62 G).
Smith then took his bat to Mexico. He hit .351/.412/.587 for the Saraperos de Saltillo in 1988, placing 7th in the Mexican League in average, right behind league legend Willie Aikens. He had 28 doubles, 19 home runs and 23 steals (in 34 tries). In the Mexican Pacific League in 1988-1989, he batted .345/~.409/.515 for the Cañeros de Los Mochis. He was second in average, 7 points behind Nelson Simmons and tied Lorenzo Bundy for second in runs (58, behind Aikens). With Saltillo in '89, Greg put up a .332/.380/.558 line with 28 stolen bases (caught 13 times), 46 doubles, 15 home runs, 80 runs and 98 RBI. He had the second-best double total in Mexican League history, 3 shy of Chico Garcia's 49 back in 1961.
The veteran hit .300/~.357/.463 for Los Mochis in 1989-1990, good for 4th in average behind Dave Hollins, Jeff Carter and Homar Rojas. He had his best Mexican League average in 1990, hitting .372/.425/.540 for Saltillo with 17 homers, 102 RBI and 32 steals in 51 tries. He was fourth in RBI (trailing Dave Stockstill, Aikens and Alejandro Ortiz) and was 5th in average (after Nick Castaneda, Eric Mangham, Todd Brown and Trench Davis).
Falling to .294 for the 1990-1991 Naranjeros de Hermosillo, Smith failed to make the LMP's top 10 in average. He had his worst summer in Mexico, going just 17 for 78 with 4 doubles and 5 walks for Saltillo in 1991. He recovered in 1992 to bat .341/.417/.480 with 94 RBI. He just made the top 10 in average while just missing the top 10 in RBI. He ended his Saltillo career in '93, going 19 for 80 with 3 doubles, 2 homers and 7 walks.
Overall, Smith had a batting line of .339/.401/.520 in 523 games in the Mexican League, with 378 RBI. Through 2000, he was tied with Matt Stark for 21st in league history in average for players with between 1,200 and 3,000 at-bats. As he had hit .298 in his US minor league career, he finished his Organized Baseball career well over .300.