Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one who pitched for the last two Pirates World Series teams.
Bruce Kison, pitcher for the 1971-79 Pirates. He was a 14th round draft pick of the Pirates in the 1968 amateur draft out of high school. Kison piled up a 30-9 record on his way to the majors. He debuted in the Gulf Coast League at 18 years old, going 2-1, 2.25 in 24 innings. In 1969, he pitched for Geneva of the short-season New York-Penn League, where he had a 5-2, 3.16 record in 94 innings over 13 starts. In 1970, while at Double-A Waterbury of the Eastern League for most of the year, he had a 13-5, 1.99 record in 163 innings. Before getting to Waterbury, he had an 0.82 ERA in 33 innings for Salem of the Carolina League. Prior to being called up by the Pirates in July of 1971 at 21 years old, he went 10-1, 2.86 in 85 innings over 12 starts at Triple-A Charleston of the International League. Kison debuted with the Pirates on July 4th and went 6-5, 3.40 in 95.1 innings over 18 games (13 starts) as a rookie. He was used three times in relief during the playoffs that year, allowing just three hits and no runs in 11 combined innings. He pitched a full season of winter ball after the year, giving him an incredibly high total of innings from March through early 1972. During his first full season in the majors in 1972, he went 9-7, 3.26 in 152 innings, starting 18 of his 32 games pitched. He had 102 strikeouts that year, the first of three times he surpassed the century mark in strikeouts. He had two more scoreless outings in the 1972 postseason, running his total to 13.1 innings of scoreless relief in the playoffs.
Kison spent most of 1973 in the minors despite the early success he had in the majors. He had a shoulder injury when he reported to Spring Training and debuted that year in the minors. He made 20 starts with Charleston, going 8-6, 3.95 in 114 innings, before coming back to Pittsburgh in September for seven starts. He went 3-0, 3.09 in 43.2 innings for the Pirates that year. In 1974, Kison had a 9-8, 3.49 record in 129 innings, making 24 relief appearances and 16 starts. He started game three of the NLCS against the Dodgers and pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, but the Pirates lost the series. He was finally used in a starting role all season in 1975 and he responded with 12 wins and a 3.23 ERA in 192 innings, helping the Pirates back to the postseason. Kison allowed his first postseason run that year in the NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds. That strong season was backed up by a 14-9, 3.08 record over 193 innings in 1976, which was arguably his best year in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately for him, the 1977 season wasn’t a good one. He pitched 193 innings again, but it came with a 4.90 ERA. That ERA was 1.41 over his second worst mark during nine seasons in Pittsburgh. The surprising part is that he set a career high with 122 strikeouts that year. Kison moved to more of a relief role in 1978 and pitched well in slightly limited use, putting up a 3.19 ERA in 96 innings, with 11 starts and 17 relief outings.
Kison was back in the rotation for most of the year with the 1979 Pirates, going 13-7, 3.19 in 172.1 innings over 25 starts and eight relief outings, helping them to the World Series. In his only postseason start he got hit very hard and was unable to make it out of the first inning. He left the Pirates as a free agent over the 1979-80 off-season, signing a five-year contract with the California Angels. Elbow surgery limited him to just 117.1 innings during his first two seasons in California. He went 3-6, 4.91 in 13 starts in 1980, then during the strike-shortened 1981 season, Kison had a 1-1, 3.48 record in 44 innings, with four starts and seven relief appearances. He bounced back with a strong season in 1982, but it was just a one-year peak. Kison went 10-5, 3.17 in 142 innings that year, with 16 starts and 17 relief appearances. In 1983, he had an 11-5, 4.05 record in 126.2 innings, making 17 starts and nine appearances out of the bullpen. In 1984, he posted a 4-5, 5.37 record in seven starts and 13 relief games, throwing a total of 65.1 innings. His final big league season (1985) was spent with the Boston Red Sox, where he was 5-3, 4.11 in 92 innings, with nine starts and 13 relief appearances. Kison went 115-88, 3.66 in 1,809.2 innings during his 15-year career. In Pittsburgh, he was 81-63, 3.49 in 1,266.1 innings. He finished his career with 1,073 strikeouts. He wasn’t a workhorse for his era, topping out at 193 innings, while completing just 36 of his 246 starts. For reference, during Kison’s first full season in the majors, Steve Carlton led the league with 30 complete games, almost matching Kison’s career total in one season.
Bob Miller, pitcher for the 1971-72 Pirates. He played 18 seasons in the majors, most of that time as a reliever, pitching a total of 694 games for ten different teams. His big league career and pro career began at 18 years old, playing for the 1957 St Louis Cardinals, where he made five appearances and he gave up nine runs in nine innings. That was followed by a full season in the minors in 1958, which was mostly spent with Houston of the Double-A Texas League, though he also pitched five games for Rochester of the Triple-A International League. Miller went 8-11, 3.54 in 160 innings with Houston. He spent the first four months of 1959 with Rochester, going 8-12, 3.50 in 139 innings before joining the Cardinals in August. He went 4-3, 3.31 in 70.2 innings during his second big league trial to finish off the 1959 season. Miller dealt with a shoulder injury in 1960 that limited him to a 4-3, 3.42 record in 52.2 innings over seven starts and eight relief appearances, along with a brief stint in the minors. He spent all of 1961 in the majors, mostly pitching in relief. He went 1-3, 4.24 in 74.1 innings over five starts and 29 relief appearances.
During the 1961-62 off-season, Miller was taken by the New York Mets in the Expansion Draft. His stay there was brutal on a very bad team. He went 1-12, 4.89 in 143.2 innings, making 21 starts and 12 relief appearances. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers shortly after the season ended and flourished in the new environment. His ERA was under 3.00 during each of his first four seasons with the Dodgers. Miller went 10-8, 2.89 in 187 innings in 1963, with 23 starts and 19 relief outings. His win total and innings were both career highs, as were his 125 strikeouts, the only time he topped the century mark in that category. In 1964, he had a 7-7, 2.62 record in 137.2 innings. He appeared in 74 games that year, which led the National League and set a career high for appearances. In 1965, Miller posted a 6-7, 2.97 record in 103 innings over 61 games. He picked up nine saves for the second straight season. During the 1966 season, he went 4-2, 2.77 in 84.1 innings over 46 games. That was followed by a down year in 1967, as he slipped to a 2-9, 4.31 record in 85.2 innings over 52 games. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins on November 28, 1967 in a five-player deal that included Mudcat Grant and recent MVP Zoilo Versalles. In Los Angeles, Miller had a 29-33, 3.03 record in 597.2 innings over 30 starts and 245 relief appearances.
Miller’s move to the Twins set off a string of moves that had him switching teams nine times between November 1967 and September 1973. He actually did well during most of that time, starting with a 2.74 ERA over 72.1 innings with Minnesota in 1968. He pitched even more in 1969, going 5-5, 3.02 in 119.1 innings over 11 starts and 37 relief outings. Miller played for the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs during the 1970 season, as he was part of two trades and a sale between December 10, 1969 and September 1, 1970. He combined to go 6-8, 4.79 in 107 innings over 15 starts and 22 relief games. He went from the Cubs to the San Diego Padres in May of 1971 after being released by Chicago and signed the next day by the Padres. The Pirates acquired him from the Padres on August 10, 1971 in exchange for minor leaguers Johnny Jeter and Ed Acosta. That made it two straight seasons in which he played for three different teams. He pitched just seven innings for the Cubs and allowed four runs. Miller had a 7-3, 1.41 record in 63.2 innings for the Padres prior to the trade.
With the 1971 Pirates, Miller pitched 16 games and posted a 1.29 ERA in 28 innings. In the playoffs that year he pitched three innings in the game two win over the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS, then pitched in three games during the World Series win over the Baltimore Orioles. Miller pitched 36 games and 54.1 innings for the 1972 Pirates, going 5-2, 2.65 with three saves, followed by a scoreless inning in the NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds during that postseason. He was released by the Pirates just prior to the start of the 1973 season. He moved around a lot that year, going to the Padres first, followed by time with the Detroit Tigers and then one scoreless inning with the New York Mets to finish out the year. He wasn’t as good as his time in Pittsburgh, but he still had a solid season, posting a 3.67 ERA in 73.2 innings over 41 outings. Miller finished up his career with the Mets in 1974, posting a 3.58 ERA 78 innings over 58 games. He was released after the season and finished his pro career with a brief stint in Triple-A for the Padres in 1975. In his career he went 69-81, 3.37 with 52 saves. He pitched 1,551.1 innings over 694 appearances, with 99 starts in his career.
Dal Maxvill, shortstop for the 1973-74 Pirates. He was a strong fielding, light-hitting shortstop nearing the end of his career when the Pirates purchased his contract from the Oakland A’s on July 7,1973. He signed with the St Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1960 at 21 years old. He played that first season with Winnipeg of the Class-C Northern League, where he hit .257 in 74 games, with 47 runs and 48 RBIs. In 1961, he split the season between Winnipeg (50 games) and San Juan/Charleston of the Triple-A International League. In 138 games that season, he combined to hit .233 with 62 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs and 70 walks, with similar results at both levels. Maxvill made the majors in just two years, after starting the 1962 season strong with Tulsa of the Double-A Texas League. He was batting .348 with 18 extra-base hits in 47 games before joining the Cardinals in June. That average couldn’t carry over, but he provided plenty of defensive value at shortstop. Maxvill hit .222 in 79 games as a rookie, posting a lowly .552 OPS. He was a bench player in 1963, seeing 57 plate appearances over 53 games. He played 24 games at shortstop, nine at second base and three at third base, though he made a total of nine starts. He posted a .590 OPS that season.
Maxvill saw even less time in 1964, while spending part of the year in the minors. He made just two starts all season with the Cardinals, until the postseason. An injury to second baseman Julian Javier forced Maxvill into the final game of the regular season, then he started all seven games in the World Series. He had 22 plate appearances in the World Series and 27 during the season. He hit .231 with no extra-base hits or walks during the season, and he went 4-for-20 with a double and a walk in the World Series, which the Cardinals won over the New York Yankees. He hit just .135 with no homers and a .408 OPS in 68 games (98 plate appearances) during the 1965 season. You would think that doing that poorly would hurt his career, but he was a regular in the lineup for the first time in 1966. It would be the first of seven straight season with 132+ games played. He had a solid year at the plate by his standards, batting .244 with 14 doubles and 37 walks. His .606 OPS was the highest of his career up to that point, but he would soon surpass that mark. Using modern metrics, his 2.5 dWAR was the best in the National League in 1966. Maxvill set a career high with 152 games played in 1967, a mark he would tie three years later. His 2.3 dWAR was third best among all NL players. He batted .227 with 37 runs, 14 doubles, 41 RBIs and 48 walks. The Cardinals won the World Series over the Boston Red Sox that year and he hit .158 while playing all seven games of the series. He won a Gold Glove with the St Louis Cardinals in 1968 and batted .253 that season. It was the only year during his 14-season big league career he hit over .250, and the only time he scored more than 50 runs (51) in a season. He also added 52 walks, helping him to a career best .627 OPS. The Cardinals lost the World Series to the Detroit Tigers that season and he went 0-for-22 with three walks in the seven games. He received mild MVP support that year, finishing 20th in the voting.
After his big 1968 season, Maxvill dropped like a rock the next year on offense. He hit .175 with a .492 OPS in 132 games. Things were barely better in 1970, though his defense earned him a league best 2.1 dWAR. Maxvill hit .201 in 152 games that year, with no homers or stolen bases, while posting a .510 OPS. He improved slightly in 1971, putting up a .565 OPS in 132 games. That was followed by a .560 OPS in 105 games in 1972, prior to an August trade to the Oakland A’s. He batted .250 in 27 games with the A’s in 1972, with one RBI and two runs. Before joining Pittsburgh in July of 1973, he had just 21 plate appearances in 29 games. Maxvill provided the Pirates with strong defense in 1973, playing 74 games at shortstop, but he hit just .189 with no homers and 17 RBIs, leading to a .496 OPS. He was released eight games into the 1974 season, after starting off 4-for-22 at the plate, and then he signed back with the A’s, where he finished his career in 1975. Maxvill hit .192 in 53 at-bats over 60 games with the 1974 A’s, then he batted just ten times in 20 games in 1975. He was actually a coach during the season, but the A’s activated him in the middle of May for a time without seeing action, then activated him again in late August for his final 20 games. He retired shortly after the season ended. He played with four World Series winning teams during his career, winning twice in St Louis (1964 and 1967) and twice in Oakland (1972 and 1974). Maxvill ended his career with a .217 average and just six homers and seven stolen bases in 1,423 games. He scored 302 runs, had 252 RBIs and he drew 370 walks. His career 15.7 dWAR ranks him just outside the top 100 players all-time at any position. He turns 83 today. His actual first name is Charles. Dal comes from his middle name, Dallan.
Manny Mota, outfielder for the 1963-68 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball in 1957 at 19 years old and batted .314 with 82 runs and 91 RBIs in 126 games for Michigan City of the Class-D Midwest League, but he didn’t make it to the majors for the first time until five years later. Mota batted well every year in the minors, backing up that debut with a .301 average and 33 extra-base hits in 103 games in 1958 with Danville of the Class-B Carolina League. He posted a .305 mark in 1959, while splitting 86 games between Springfield of the Class-A Eastern League (65 games) and Phoenix of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Mota had a .307 average in 1960 with Rio Grande Valley of the Double-A Texas League. He scored 76 runs that year, with 32 extra-base hits, 79 RBIs and 52 walks in 141 games. He spent all of 1961 in the Pacific Coast League, where he hit .289 in 142 games for Tacoma. His .698 OPS was his lowest mark up to that point, but that didn’t keep him from the majors. Mota made the Opening Day roster for the 1962 San Francisco Giants, where he hit .176 in 47 games. He spent a chunk of the season back in the minors, where he batted .348 in 30 games for El Paso of the Texas League. He was traded to the expansion Houston Colt .45’s in the 1962-63 off-season. The Pirates acquired him on April 4, 1963 before he played a game in Houston, giving up outfielder Howie Goss in the deal.
Mota didn’t play much during his first season in Pittsburgh, but from 1964-68 he saw plenty of time at all three outfield positions, playing at least 111 games each season. He started just 25 games in 1963, mostly playing left field. He batted .270 in 59 games that year, with 20 runs scored and more triples (3) than doubles and homers combined (2). In 1964, he started 47 games in center field. He also played a total of 56 games in left field, but only three of those games were starts. Mota hit .277 in 115 games that year, with 43 runs and 32 RBIs. During the 1965 season, he hit .279 in 121 games, with 47 runs, 17 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs. He saw a large majority of his action in center field that year, while also playing 35 games in left field without a start. Mota hit .332 in 116 games in 1966, with 54 runs, 28 extra-base hits and 46 RBIs. His .855 OPS that year was the highest of his career. He started 68 games that season, split between the three outfield spots. In 1967, he batted .321 in 120 games, with 53 runs, 26 extra-base hits and 56 RBIs. His OPS was .784 that year, with the 71-point difference from 1966 partially coming from fewer walks in more plate appearances.
Mota saw a large dip in his offense in 1968, though it was a down year for offense all around baseball. He hit .281 with a .653 OPS in 111 games. The Pirates lost him on October 14, 1968 to the Montreal Expos during the 1968 Expansion Draft, though his stay there was short. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in June of 1969 and remained there for the duration of his career. He batted over .300 in each of his first five seasons after leaving Pittsburgh. He hit .315 in 31 games with the Expos, then finished the year by hitting .323 in 85 games with the Dodgers. In 1970, he set career highs with 124 games and 481 plate appearances. He hit .305 with a career high 63 runs, as well as 21 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs and a career best 47 walks. He wasn’t much of a base stealing threat during his career, but he set a high with 11 stolen bases that year. In 1971, Mota batted .312 in 91 games, posting an OPS just two points lower than the previous year (.761 vs .759). In 1972, he played 118 games and batted .323, with 57 runs, 26 extra-base hits and 46 RBIs. He finished 23rd in the MVP voting that year, the only year he received MVP support. In 1973, Mota made the All-Star team for the first time in his career, though he also saw less playing time. It was the last season that he saw semi-regular starts, slipping into the pinch-hitting role in 1974. He batted .314 in 89 games in 1973, with 33 runs, 23 RBIs and a 25:12 BB/SO ratio. From 1973 until the end of his career, all of his defensive work came in left field, though he barely played defense after that season, making just eight starts and playing 86 innings total during his final eight seasons.
Mota hit .281 with 16 RBIs in 57 at-bats in 1974. In 1975, he batted .265 in 49 at-bats, then hit .288 in 52 at-bats the next year. He excelled in 1977, hitting .395, with a 1.021 OPS in 50 plate appearances. He batted .303 in 37 games in 1978, then .357 in 47 games in 1979, followed by going 3-for-7 during his brief time in 1980. Mota played parts of 20 seasons in the majors, last getting an at-bat in 1982 for the Dodgers. That at-bat was his 500th as a pinch-hitter. He was a .304 career hitter and also the all-time leader in pinch hits when he retired, breaking the record of former Pirate Smoky Burgess in 1979, before losing the record to Lenny Harris in 2001. He finished with an even .300 average as a pinch-hitter in his career, assuming that role 594 times total in 1,536 games. His final stats show 496 runs scored, 125 doubles, 31 homers and 438 RBIs. His sons Andy and Jose Mota each played in the majors as well as his cousin Jose Baez. He turns 84 today.
Cal Neeman, catcher for the 1962 Pirates. He first signed to play pro ball at 20 years old in 1949, but it took him eight years to make it to the majors. Part of that time length is due to the fact that he spent two years (1951-52) in the Army during the Korean War, which happened with many players during that era. Neeman debuted with Joplin of the Class-C Western Association, where he spent his first two seasons of pro ball. He hit .294 in 110 games in 1949, with 57 runs, 19 doubles, seven homers, 73 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. He stole a total of six bases in his other 12 seasons of pro ball combined. In 1950, Neeman batted .292 with 22 extra-base hits in 95 games. He returned from the service in 1953 and moved up two levels to Binghamton of the Class-A Eastern League. He hit .239 that year in 89 games, with 32 runs, 11 doubles, eight homers and 36 RBIs. He remained in Binghamton for 1954 and hit .239 again, this time with 46 runs, 19 extra-base hits and 39 RBIs in 125 games. Neeman made a nice jump in production during the 1955 season when he batted .295 with 27 extra-base hits, 59 RBIs and 57 walks in 122 games for Birmingham of the Double-A Southern Association. He moved up to Triple-A in 1956 and had a mediocre season at the plate, which was still enough to get him selected by the Chicago Cubs in the Rule 5 draft in December of 1956. Splitting the year between Richmond of the International League and Denver of the American Association, Neeman hit .255 in 94 games, with 19 extra-base hits, 38 RBIs and a .680 OPS.
As a rookie in 1957 for the Cubs, Neeman hit .258 with 17 doubles, ten homers and 39 RBIs in 122 games and led all National League catchers in putouts and runners caught stealing. He hit .259 with 30 runs, 12 homers and 29 RBIs in 76 games in 1958, then saw a huge drop in his offensive production. Neeman batted .162 with three homers in 44 games during the 1959 season, losing playing time to Sammy Taylor, who was a rookie during the 1958 season. Neeman started off 2-for-13 in 1960, before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. He had a chance to get playing time with the Cubs, but his drop in production cost him a spot. The Cubs used eight different catchers that year and none of them started more than 38 games. Neeman hit .188 in 78 games for Philadelphia before joining the Pirates, with 19 of those games coming during the early part of the 1962 season. The Pirates purchased his contract from the Phillies on May 9, 1962. Neeman played 24 games for the Pirates, hitting .180 with five RBIs in 50 at-bats. He didn’t make a single start from June 19th through September 2nd, and he had no at-bats during that time, getting used four times as a defensive replacement in that 76-day stretch.
Prior to Spring Training in 1963, the Pirates traded Neeman to the St Louis Cardinals in exchange for first baseman Bob Burda, who never played for the Pirates. Neeman went on to play for three organizations that season, his last year in the majors. He actually didn’t appear in the majors with the Cardinals. He was purchased by the Cleveland Indians out of the minors in June, then the Washington Senators purchased his contract in August. He combined to go 1-for-27 at the plate, with two walks and a run scored. He also saw some minor league time with the Indians that year, which was his last in pro ball. In seven big league seasons he was a .224 hitter, playing in 376 games. He scored 93 runs, with 35 doubles, 30 homers and 97 RBIs.
Luis Arroyo, pitcher for the 1956-57 Pirates. He didn’t make the majors until age 28 in 1955, but was able to make the All-Star team his rookie season while playing for the St Louis Cardinals. He was born in Puerto Rico and first played pro ball at 21 years old in 1948, splitting the year between Greensboro of the Class-C Carolina League and Greenville of the Class-D Coastal Plains League. He combined to go 14-6, 3.90 in 249 innings, with much better results at the high level. Arroyo had some control issues that year, handing out 153 walks. In 1949, he was with Greensboro for the entire season (the league was reclassified to Class-B), going 21-10, 3.67 in 270 innings, with 114 walks and 228 strikeouts, showing a nice improvement in his walk rate. In 1950, he jumped to Columbus of the Triple-A American Association, where he went 4-4, 4.11 in 116 innings over eight starts and 25 relief appearances. His walk rate regressed, finishing the year with a 77:64 BB/SO ratio. He played part of 1951 with Columbus and part of the year with Rochester of the Triple-A International League. Arroyo combined for a 5.63 ERA in 72 innings that year. His career was sidetracked in the spring of 1952 due to an arm injury, which caused him to miss two full seasons.
Arroyo returned in 1954 to go 16-9, 2.42 in 227 innings, with 100 walks and 214 strikeouts. He was in Columbus for part of 1954, but this wasn’t the Ohio team he previously played with in Triple-A. He was in Georgia, playing in the Class-A South Atlantic League, while also seeing time that year with Houston of the Double-A Texas League, where he had better results. He made the Opening Day roster for the Cardinals in 1955 and saw sporadic work at first, then got regular mound time during the fourth week of the season. He had a nice 11-8 record during that All-Star season, though his 4.19 ERA in 159 innings was a bit high. He had a 2.44 ERA at the All-Star break, which explains the selection. Arroyo had an 8.19 ERA after the All-Star break and lost his starting role in early September. Early during the 1956 season, the Pirates acquired him for Max Surkont, a veteran pitcher who was nearing the end of his Major League career. Arroyo was in the minors at the time of the May 7th trade. He reported to the Pirates right away, but ended up spending two full months in the minors before returning in late September. He pitched 18 games for the Pirates that year, mostly in relief, going 3-3, 4.71 in 28.2 innings. He was used often by the Pirates in 1957, pitching 54 total games, ten as a starter. He went 3-11, 4.68 in 130.2 innings pitched.
After spending all of 1958 in the minors, where he had a 10-3, 4.01 record in 110 innings, the Pirates traded Arroyo to the Cincinnati Reds for minor leaguer Nino Escalera on December 3, 1958. Arroyo pitched one partial season for the Reds, spending most of the year in the minors. He had a 3.95 ERA in 13.2 innings over ten appearances with the Reds. He then played four years for the New York Yankees after they acquired him in a July 1960 trade for Jesse Gonder, who would later play for the Pirates. Arroyo instantly did well for the Yankees, posting a 2.88 ERA and seven saves in 40.2 innings over 29 appearances. He pitched during game five of the World Series against the Pirates. During his only postseason appearance that year, he allowed an RBI single to Roberto Clemente, which helped the Pirates to victory that day. During the 1961 season, he won 15 games, saved 29, finished sixth in the AL MVP voting and made his second All-Star appearance. Arroyo led the league with 65 pitching appearances, and he threw 119 innings in relief. He pitched twice in the World Series against the Reds that year and allowed two runs in two innings during his first game, then tossed two scoreless innings. In 1962, Arroyo went 1-3, 4.81 in 33.2 innings over 27 games, with seven saves. He pitched just six games during the 1963 season and allowed nine runs in six innings, which ended up being his final big league time. He finished the year with Richmond of the Triple-A International League before ending his playing career. He later managed for three years in Mexico. In his eight seasons in the majors, Arroyo went 40-32, 3.93 with 45 saves in 244 games (36 starts) and 531.1 innings.
Sherry Smith, pitcher for the 1911-12 Pirates. After his first season in the minors in 1910, the Pirates picked him up in the Rule 5 draft that September. Smith saw very little minor league time in 1910 and the team the Pirates selected him from (Jacksonville of the Class-C South Atlantic League) used him more at third base than on the mound. He also played briefly that year for Greensboro of the Class-D Carolina Association. He made his big league debut on May 11, 1911 during a 19-10 loss to the Phillies. Smith faced seven batters, retired two, while allowing four hits and a walk before he was pulled. All five base runners would score, four of them being earned runs. The Pirates didn’t have the innings for Smith, so they decided on May 31st to release him to Minneapolis of the American Association, though he ended up playing mostly for the Greenwood Scouts of the Class-D Cotton States League in 1911, where he had a 9-4 record and threw 115 innings. The Pirates recalled him at the end of the year, but in January he was released to Springfield of the Class-B Central League. He went 18-16 and threw 279 innings that year for Springfield. His ERA isn’t available, but it’s known that he allowed 3.84 runs per nine innings. That performance earned him another look from the Pirates. Smith pitched in relief in three September games in 1912, including both games of a doubleheader on September 19th, allowing a total of three runs over four innings of work.
On December 13, 1912, Smith was released to Louisville of the Double-A American Association, officially ending his time with Pirates. He had a 5-3 record in 19 games for Louisville in 1913, while also making 11 starts for Grand Rapids of the Class-B Central League, where he went 9-2 and threw 108 innings. In 1914, Smith pitched for Newark of the Double-A International League. He posted an 8-12 record that season in 185.1 innings, with giving up 3.50 runs per nine innings. He next appeared in the majors in 1915 with the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers), where he had immediate success. Smith posted a 14-8, 2.59 record in 173.2 innings in 1915. In 1916, he had a 14-10, 2.34 record in 219 innings over 25 starts and 11 relief appearances. He pitched game two of the World Series that year against the Boston Red Sox and lost 2-1 to Babe Ruth in the 14th inning, with both pitchers going to entire way. After going 12-12, 3.32 in 211.1 in 1917, Smith missed the entire 1918 season while serving during WWI. He returned in 1919 and had a great 2.24 ERA in 173 innings, though he finished with a 7-12 record for a team that went 69-71 on the season. He completed 13 of his 19 starts that year, and he also made 11 relief appearances.
Smith had his best year in 1920, going 11-9, 1.85 in 136.1 innings, making 13 starts and 20 relief appearances. He made two World Series starts that year and allowed just one earned run in 17 innings, but still ended up with a loss in game six of the series. He went 7-11, 3.90 in 175.1 innings in 1921, which was a big drop-off, but it comes with an asterisk. All of offense was up around baseball due to new rules that favored the hitters, leading to the average ERA in the National League to go from 3.13 in 1920 to 3.78 in 1921. The 1922 season was spent with Brooklyn and the Cleveland Indians, who acquired him on September 18, 1922 via waivers. He was 4-8, 4.56 in 108.2 innings with the Robins before going on waivers, then had a 3.45 ERA in his two starts to finish the season with Cleveland. In 1923, Smith went 9-6, 3.27 in 124 innings over 16 starts and 14 relief appearances. He had a solid 1924 season despite a below .500 record, finishing up 12-14, 3.02 in 247.2 innings. He had 20 complete games in 27 starts that year, while also making 12 relief appearances. Smith went 11-14, 4.86 in 237 innings in 1925, with 22 complete games in 30 starts. He had a bit of a bounce back season in 1926, going 11-10, 3.73 in 188.1 innings He finished out his big league career in Cleveland in 1927, going 1-4, 5.45 in 38 innings. He was a player-manager for Cedartown of the Class-D Georgia-Alabama League in 1928, then remained there for two more years as just the manager. He also managed two more seasons in the minors. He played a total of 14 seasons in the majors, finishing with a 114-118 career record. Smith had a 3.32 ERA in 2,052.2 innings. He threw complete games in 142 of his 226 starts. He was the ultimate pitch-to-contact pitcher, finishing with 440 walks and 428 strikeouts, with a season high of 67 strikeouts during the 1916 season. During his time in Pittsburgh, he went by his first name (Sherrod).