Feb 05

Jud Smith

Jud Smith

Jud Smith

Jud Smith

Jud Smith was born 13 January 1869 in Green Oak, Michigan. He attended Ohio State, making him one of the few college educated players of his era. What follows is the September 1887 review of him by Sporting Life. Judson G. Smith, Washington’s new third baseman, has been a professional since 1890, when he played with Portland, of the Pacific Northwest League. In 1891 he was with the La Grande (Or.) Club of the Pacific Interstate League, and the following season found him with the Butte Club of the Montana State League. In 1893 he made his first appearance as a National League player with the Cincinnati Club, of that organization, but this engagement was a brief one. He drifted to the Binghamton and Wilkes-Barre Clubs of the Eastern League, and in 1894 he played third base for Jacksonville, Illinois. Toronto, of the Eastern League, had him during 1895 and 1896, and last year he helped Syracuse win the Eastern League pennant. He ranked high as a batsman and stood third in the fielding averages of the Eastern League.

In August one paper writes of Smith, “The Washington Club now possesses what it has not had for years, a good third baseman. Jud Smith, with a little more big League seasoning, will be the peer of Jimmy Collins and Bobby Wallace. His work is not only clean but artistic. His batting will improve with experience.” High praise indeed, but errors, often at critical moments will send Smith on an odyssey to various positions around the infield.

Smith first played for Wheeling in the Ohio State League in 1887 at the age of 18. It was the beginning of 21 seasons in the minors, the last seven in the Pacific Coast League. He batted a respectable .274 in over 2,000 minor league games and actually did slightly better in the majors. Smith played for two teams in 1893, did well in limited playing time for Pittsburgh in 1896, returning there in 1901 to play just six games. Maybe he was a player who just never found his right niche. The book Low and Inside states that Smith was very superstitious. Smith died in Los Angeles in 1947, he was 78.