Alphonse Eugene Smith
Nickname: Al, Fuzzy
Positions: ss, 3b
Teams: Cleveland Buckeyes (1946-1948), minor leagues (1950-1952), major leagues (1953-1964)
Height: 6' 1'' Weight: 196
Born: February 7, 1928, Kirkwood, Missouri
Died: January 3, 2002
Prior to playing a dozen years in the major leagues, he began his career as a third baseman with the Negro American League's Cleveland Buckeyes, who signed him after he graduated from a St. Louis high school in 1946. In his first full season, 1947, he moved to shortstop and hit .285 as the Buckeyes took the Negro American League pennant. The next season he moved to the outfield and hit an even .300. Cleveland Indians' scouts evaluating Buckeyes' hurler Sam Jones during a July game at League Park discovered Smith and signed him also.
Assigned to the Class A Wilkes-Barre club in the Eastern League, he hit .316 for the remainder of the year, and after batting .311 with good power in a full season with the club in 1949, he was promoted to San Diego in the Pacific Coast League. After seasons of .248 and .281 on the Coast, he joined Indianapolis in the American Association for the 1952 season. After another good season and a half in Indianapolis, he earned a trip to the majors, taking a partial-season .332 average with him to Cleveland to finish the 1953 season.
In his first full year in the major leagues, he was a regular on their record-setting American League pennant winners in 1954, and contributed a .281 batting average to the team's success. His best season with the Indians was in 1955, when he hit .306 and slugged 22 home runs. After being traded, he enjoyed two more good years (1960-1961) with the Chicago White Sox, when he posted marks of .315 with 12 home runs and .278 with 28 home runs.
His last year in the major leagues, 1964, was also his last in baseball. During the early 1950s he played winter ball in Ponce, Puerto Rico, with his best season coming in the winter of 1951-1952, when he hit .294 and led the league with 9 homers.
Baseball Career Highlights:
"I played in the Negro World Series in 1947 against the New York Cubans. The Buckeyes lost 4-2. I also played the in Major League for 12 years with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox."
"As a Cleveland Indian, I played in the 1954 and 1959 World Series. After retiring from baseball, I worked for the City of Chicago and managed the city-wide baseball program for 18 years."
Awards, Honors, Titles, Championships,
• Lettered in Basketball, Football and Track (High School)
• "Most Valuable Player" (High School)
• Tied Third Place in Hitting (.317) - 1954
• "Most Valuable Player" Runner-Up - 1955
• "Comeback Player of the Year" Award - 1959
NLBM Legacy 2000 Players' Reunion Alumni Book, Kansas City Missouri: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc., 2000.
James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.