Biography

Ozzie Smith is known in baseball as “The Wizard” and the best defensive shortstop of all time. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.

Ozzie retired from baseball in 1996 after playing 19 years in the major leagues, the first four years with the San Diego Padres and the final fifteen with the St. Louis Cardinals. His nickname describes the way he played shortstop—he performed magic with his glove and performed in the infield with amazing acrobatic agility.

Ozzie broke countless records during his nineteen years in the major

  • All-time assist leader at shortstop with 8,375 assists
  • All-time leader at turning double plays, with 1,590
  • 13 consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, signifying the best at his position
  • Started at shortstop for 10 consecutive years in the All Star Game, and was the number one vote getter over-all for the 1987 and 1988 All Star Games.

Other noteworthy baseball accomplishments include:

  • Earned his 2000th hit in 1992, finishing his career with 2,460 hits
  • Consistently one of the toughest hitters to strike out and in 1994 joined his friend Eddie Murray as the only two active players with seventeen straight 100 hit seasons.
  • Was named to the All Century 100 Best Baseball Players of the 20th Century by Major League Baseball.
  • Selected as the shortstop on the 50 year Anniversary Rawlings Gold Glove Team and inducted into the Rawlings Gold Glove Hall of Fame in 2011.

Off-the-Field Accomplishments:

  • 2001 recipient of the “Walter Payton Sweetness Award”, a Victor Award given to an athlete who has contributed to his community as well as being recognized in his particular sport.
  • 1995 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award, the humanitarian award of Major League Baseball
  • 1994 recipient of the Branch Rickey Award, personifying “Service Above Self”
  • 1992 St. Louis Man of the Year, a prestigious civic award never before given to an athlete.
  • 1986 Father of the Year Honors Group Award
  • 1983 NAACP Image Award for Sportsmanship, Humanitarianism, and Community Involvement.

Ozzie's charitable endeavors almost always benefit children, and he has spent countless hours assisting various charities in the St. Louis area including the American Heart Association and St. Louis Effort for Aids Dining out for Life program. Currently, Ozzie serves as President of the Gateway PGA Foundation, an organization that reaches out to inner city youth via mentoring and golf programs. Ozzie also serves as the Education Ambassador for the Baseball Hall of Fame and headlines a fundraiser, "Play Ball with Ozzie Smith" every year in Cooperstown during Induction week end.

Since retirement from baseball Ozzie succeeded Mel Allen as host of This Week in Baseball, was the color analyst for Cardinal broadcasts in 1997-1999, and served as the baseball analyst for CNNSI, a joint venture between CNN and Sports Illustrated from 1999 to 2002.

Ozzie proudly operated a restaurant in St. Louis, Ozzie’s Restaurant and Sports Bar at Westport Plaza, which closed its doors in October, 2009 after 21 years in business.

In 1998, 1999 and 2001 Ozzie was cast in three theatrical productions at The Municipal Theatre in St. Louis. He had a cameo role in “Damn Yankees” in 1998. In 1999 he sang and tap danced in “The Muny Goes British” a musical revue based on songs from various Broadway musicals, and in 2001 he starred as The Wizard in The Muny’s production of “The Wizard of Oz”.

In 2005, the CD, “Oh Say Can You Sing” was released featuring Ozzie singing the Sam Cooke song, “Cupid”. The CD includes 10 other major league baseball players singing their own versions of popular songs. Proceeds from this project go to the players’ designated charities.

Ozzie has three children and makes St. Louis his home because he feels a deep responsibility to give back to the community that has so enriched his life.

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