Pacer Smith

From BR Bullpen

Charles N. Smith

  • Bats unknown, Throws unknown
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 170 lb.

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Pacer Smith played professional baseball the 1870s and 1880s. On November 29, 1895, he was hanged for the murder of his daughter and sister-in-law two months earlier.

Some sources state that he had once played for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, but that seems to be incorrect as he never seems to have played anything more than a few exhibition games with the club. There is evidence that he was with the Baltimore Blues in 1878 and 1879 and with Nashville in 1880, In 1881, he was in the Northwestern League with Terre Haute and then Indianapolis in 1882-1883. He was not retained by the club when it graduated to the National League in 1884, and he played with various clubs around the area over the next few seasons. In 1886, he was playing in Decatur, IL. He was a two-way player for what was a very strong independent club that included some former or future major leaguers like Charlie Reising and Luke Lutenberg, and that also played exhibitions against major league teams - although it tended to be beaten badly in those contests.

Like many of his teammates, Smith converted his successful 1886 season into a gig with a bigger team, in his case Memphis of the Southern League in 1887, where he stayed briefly before heading to Wichita, in the Western League, and to Champaign, Illinois. In 1888, Decatur formed a new club, this time in the Central Interstate League. However, the team started losing, was racked by dissension and disbanded before the end of May.

At the end of 1888, Smith married Maggie Buchert of Decatur, and the couple moved from city to city over the next year as Smith had trouble finding a club that would have him for a whole season. In 1890 he played one final season for the Ottawa Pirates of the Illinois-Iowa League and had some success. A daughter was born at the end of the year. However, Smith had begun to drink, causing escalating problems, and he separated from his wife a month after the birth of daughter Louise. He kicked around semi-pro teams for a few more years, but by 1894, his career was over. He had trouble adjusting to post-athletic life, problems exacerbated by a bad temper and his alcoholism.

On September 28, 1895, he borrowed a gun from a saloon owner, went to see his wife and announced he was here to shoot her and his daughter. He shot his daughter, but Maggie escaped, and her younger sister Edna arrived on the scene and was mortally shot as well. Smith was quickly arrested. He was indicted for the two murders, pleaded guilty and said he was ready to face the consequences of his actions. He was executed by hanging a few weeks later.

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