I remember watching Ozzie Smith on Johnny Bench’s show The Baseball Bunch back in 1983. This was the year after Smith’s Cardinals broke my heart by beating the Brewers in the World Series. Still, Smith was an incredible fielder, and he had some great tips. I became a fan of the Wizard of Oz and have been ever since.
Smith made his debut with the Padres in 1978. He spent four years there before he was traded to the Cardinals. He won the first two of his record 13 Gold Gloves as a shortstop.
Smith continued his Gold Glove streak in St. Louis, winning it in his first 11 seasons as a Cardinal. He led the Cardinals to the World Series and scored in the sixth inning of Game 7, the inning that the Cardinals took the lead that they would not give up. I’m not bitter.
Smith was a fifteen-time All-Star, including eleven as starting shortstop, a National League record for the position.
Smith was a fixture in St. Louis through the 1996 season. He hit .303 in four NL Championship Series and played in three World Series.
I find it odd that of his 27 Topps flagship and traded cards, only three of them have him wearing his glove. He was the best fielding shortstop in the game, yet there were six times as many cards showing him with a bat or running the bases.
I have three favorite Ozzie Smith cards. The first is 1980. I love the whole body swing and the contrast between his jersey and pants.
His 1981 Record Breaker card shows him doing what he does best as he’s moving toward the ball in the field.
The 1993 card shows him signing autographs for kids.
My Ozzie Smith collection consists of 27 Topps flagship and traded sets. I stuck with Topps, and more specifically these sets, to keep my collection more manageable.