Pro baseball pitcher Frank Smith dead at 77
By DEBORAH BUCKHALTER
Floridan Staff Writer
Baseball great Frank Smith died Saturday at home in Malone at the age of 77.
Smith was a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1950s, later retiring to Jackson County.
Once he became part of this community, Smith devoted much of his time to helping the Malone and Bascom little leaguers learn the game.
Friend Doug Bryan of Malone said Smith was enthusiastic in his role as a mentor.
"He was just wide open all the time," Bryan said. "He wa league president for a while in Malone and Bascom, and he loved getting out there with the kids and teaching them things. He not only showed them how, but taught them why. He wanted to make sure they thought, that the understood the reasons for things. He was a talker, too, and very energetic. It was like he didn't have enough time to get out all the information he wanted them to have."
Smith was born in Pier Point Manor, New York, on April 4, 1928.
He pitched for 12 years professionally, spending seven years in the major leagues with the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals.
He won a dozen games for the Reds in 1952, and had an 8-1 record in 1953.
At one time, he was third-winningest pitcher in the league and was Cincinnati's top relief pitcher for five seasons. He planed an average of 50 games a season at that time.
He earned the nickname of "Cincinnati's Main Fireman because of his "blazing" fast ball. The legendary Dizzy Dean is said to have once called Smith his favorite pitcher.