Saturday, January 14, 2012

CareerGraphy of Lonnie Smith Baseball Player

American baseball player Lonnie Smith enjoyed a 17-year career in Major League Baseball. He played in five World Series with 4 teams that won three of them, but his career was full of highlights and low lights both on and off the field.
Early Years
Lonnie Smith was born in Dec. 22, 1955, in Chicago, Illinois. He later moved with his family to Compton, California, where he attended Centennial High School. Nicknamed "Skates" for his tendency to slip while rushing after fly balls in the outfield, Smith was a talented baseball player in high school and his dream was to someday play in the major leagues. In 1974, he was drafted in the first round in the amateur draft by the Philadelphia Phillies as the third overall pick.
Breaking Into the Majors
After being drafted by the Phillies, Smith spent several years in the minor leagues developing his skills. Late in the 1978 season, he was called up to the big league team and played in 17 games, mostly as a defensive replacement in late innings or as a pinch runner. In 1979, he again found himself in the minor leagues but received another chance to play for the major league team at the end of the season. This time he also played in only 17 games but was given the chance to start in the outfield in some games, and managed to get 30 at bats, which eventually led to his first major league hit. In 1980, Smith's hard work paid off and he played 100 games in his first full season in the major leagues. His .339 batting average and 33 stolen bases helped his team reach the World Series. He finished third in voting for the rookie of the year award.
Big League Career
The Phillies traded Smith to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1981. In 1982, Smith had one of his best years, leading his team in hits, doubles, triples, batting average, runs and stolen bases. He led the league in runs scored, was invited to the All-Star Game, and finished second in votes for the MVP award. With his help, the Cardinals won the World Series that season. He followed with another superb season, but also began developing a drug addiction that would soon start to affect his abilities. The Cardinals traded Smith to the Kansas City Royals in 1985, where he continued to play well and won another World Series, ironically against the Cardinals. After a disappointing season in 1987, he was released and signed with the minor league team for the Atlanta Braves. There he worked his way back to the major leagues and had the best season of his career in 1989. In 1991, as a free agent, he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. They traded him later that season to the Baltimore Orioles, where he played until he finished his career in 1994.
Drug Addiction
Professional baseball was an exciting life for Lonnie Smith but it also came with some demons. Smith admits to having a drug problem while in the prime of his career. He remembers smoking marijuana, taking pills and snorting cocaine, as much as a third of an ounce after one game, the night he realized he had a problem. The next day he was too sick to play and decided to reach out to Cardinal's manager Whitey Herzog for help. Days later, Smith was in rehab for his problem. In 1985, after his trade to Kansas City, Smith tested positive along with a number of other players during random drug testing. He was suspended and labeled "trouble" among baseball executives. He quickly found himself unwanted by big league teams. Finally free of his drug addiction but still suffering from his bad reputation, he was given a second chance when Atlanta signed him to a minor league deal. He eventually worked his way back into the big leagues and had what some consider to be his best season ever, batting .312 with career highs in home runs with 21 and RBIs with 79. He also won another World Series that year.

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