Nickname: Gene, Genie, Smitty
Positions: p, utility
Teams: Atlanta Black Crackers (1938), Mexican League (1939), Ethiopian Clowns (1939), St. Louis Stars (1939), New Orleans-St. Louis Stars (1940-1941), Kansas City Monarchs (1941), New York Black Yankees (1942), military service (1943-1945), Pittsburgh Crawfords (1946), Homestead Grays (1946-1947), Cleveland Buckeyes (1947-1948, 1950), Louisville Buckeyes (1949), Chicago American Giants (1949-1951)
Height: 6' 1'' Weight: 185
Born: April 23, 1916
Regarded as a power pitcher, he had a good fastball and slider, which he used as his primary breaking pitch, since his curvebali was somewhat lacking. He could change speeds, but his change-up and control were only average. After appearing in only 5 games and pitching ineffectively without a decision for Monterrey in the Mexican League in 1939, he joined the St. Louis Stars and two years later was one of the "Big Four" on the Stars' pitching staff.
During his career he was credited with 3 no-hitters, and in 1941 he recorded one of his gems when he hurled a no-hitter against the New York Black Yankees. Ironically, when the Stars' franchise folded during the off-season, he signed with the Black Yankees for the 1942 season and was 3-5 for the year in league competition.
He entered military service after the season, spending three years in the Army. After his discharge in 1946, he joined the Homestead Grays and posted a 4-5 record for the year. After a 1-4 start with the Grays in 1947, he finished the season with the Cleveland Buckeyes, reversing his record with a 4-1 ledger for the Buckeyes as they captured the Negro American League pennant.
In 1948 he dropped to a 2-6 pitching record, and when the fran-chise moved to Louisville in 1949, he signed with the Chicago American Giants. A strong performance inthe "Windy City" resulted in a fine 9-3 record. In 1950 he pitched in only a single league game, but returned to the American Giants for the 1951 season before closing his career.
In addition to his season in Mexico, he pitched in Puerto Rico and Canada. He was regarded as a good-hitting pitcher, as demonstrated by his .375 batting average in 1948, and he was a capable base runner and a good fielder. He was the brother of Quincy Smith, who was an outfielder in the Negro Leagues.
Baseball Career Highlights:
"In 1938, I pitched in two no-hit games in one day. Also, I pitched a no-hitter against the New York Black Yankees in 1941."
"I played one season of semi-pro ball in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1950. While working at the Independent Packing Company in 1953, I took a leave of absence to play in Manitoba (Canada). In 1954, my final year in baseball, I was a member of the Class 'O' Wisconsin State League. I was employed at the National Lead Company and retired in 1977. I coached baseball at the Matthew Bickey Boys Club."
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.