Reggie Smith, Former MLB player to be one of the instructors at 15U Camp June 2-4
The 15U Camp that is being held in Richmond June 2-4 will be lead by ex MLB player Reggie Smith.Here is Dave Empey’s recent article on Reggie. Reggie Smith, the Epitome of a Winner
There is a lot to like about Reggie Smith.
For openers, he is not a slave to technology, which seems to rule the world of baseball these days. We are inundated with endless stats, some of them very useful, but a lot as limp as a wet dishrag. I still don’t know what WAR means.
“Computers and statistics cannot tell you what’s inside a person,” Reggie says. “I wanted to drive in 100 runs and score 100. If I got close to those numbers, that’s how I judged if I had a good year. Things like slugging percentage didn’t mean anything to me. It was what I contributed to winning ball games, like the opposing manager pitching around me. My on-base percentage only mattered if I was able to score. If you aren’t scoring, what good is it?”
Amen and Hallelujah. Someone who gets it.
Smith will be here on June 2-4 to instruct at BC Baseball’s 15U development camp where 41 players will compete for a spot on the team for the Great Lakes Classic in Chicago.The 1977 Topps Reggie Smith card, available on ebay Seven Times an All-star
Smith, 72, is a borderline Hall of Famer, an all-star seven times, and one of the greatest switch hitters ever, with a career average of .287 and 314 home runs. What’s more, he was also a roadblock defensive outfielder and a renowned team leader.
His perspective is refreshing. “We played more for the love of the game. I’ve seen players pushed into baseball by their parents because of the money. I’ve seen players walk away from it for that very reason. They didn’t love the game and were playing it because someone else wanted them to.”
When it comes to winners Reggie Smith is at the head of the class. In his 17 big league seasons his teams played over .500 baseball 15 times. “I felt whatever team I went to got better. I took pride in wanting to be the best player I could possibly be but, more importantly, I would do whatever it took to win. If you look at guys like Frank Robinson, wherever they went, they made those teams better.”
He played with and against a truckload of legendary talent, including Bob Gibson, Carl Yastrzemski, Lou Brock, Ernie “Let’s play two” Banks, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Billy Williams and Earl Wilson. “A true superstar to them was the player who made his team a winner. I’m not talking about players who want to go to a winner. I’m talking about players who could go to a team and make them winners. That was something that was pounded into me.”1977 Dodgers were Loaded
He thinks the 1977 Dodgers, who finished 10 games on top, were the best team he ever played for. “We had everything. Never before had there been a team with four guys to hit 30 home runs — and if Rick Monday hadn’t gotten hurt we would have had five. We had pitching, speed, defense, power and hitting. We had guys who knew how to play the game and knew how to win. It was fun, because the game was usually over by the fifth inning.”
His outfield arm was a Winchester rifle. “I took pride in guys not being able to turn the corner. Pitchers used to tell me how much they appreciated that. I didn’t have as many assists as a lot of other outfielders, but Tommy Lasorda said, ‘Who is going to run on you?’ They stopped running on me, and that was more important to me than anything else.”
Smith’s passion for the game undoubtedly engulfs his baseball academy in Encino, California. “My purpose in life is to teach. My goal is to share the things I’ve learned. I set up foundations to help kids who want to play baseball and go to school. I want to give back.”
He’ll be giving back right here in the first week of June. And a whole lot of 15U players will be receiving the education of a lifetime.
LINE DRIVES—Reggie Smith has been known to brawl a little bit. In 1978 Dodger pitcher Don Sutton voiced his opinion that Reggie was more valuable to the club than first baseman Steve Garvey, who didn’t agree. It led to a clubhouse wrestling match between Smith and Garvey, a split decision either way…And three years later a Giants fan named Michael Dooley made the mistake of taunting Reggie and then throwing a batting helmet at him. Making like Ty Cobb on a mission, Smith jumped into the Candlestick Park stands and threw some punches at Dooley. Reggie was ejected from the game and Dooley was arrested…Only five months later Smith signed with the Giants as a free agent but we have no record of how Dooley felt about that…Smith finished his career playing two seasons in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants.The 41 Players invited to the 15U camp
Cody Hendriks, Jamie Buckle, Joey Houston, Marlo Spence,
Noah Thomas, Ryan McCarthy, Jacob Wegner, Derian Potskin,
Diego Colebourne–Urcuyo, Connor McIntosh, Tyler Burton,
Nathan Berrington-Dom, Kyle Hepburn, Thomas Baybay,
Boston Warkentin, Grayden Hunter, Lucas Longoria,
Taiki Suzuki, Kenneth Sugi, Jonathan McGill, Max Yuen,
Joshua Siemens, Ronnel Castro, Jude Hall, Thomas Richards,
Finn Crozier, Logan Domanski, Nathan Sawyer, Keegan Lott,
Dane Giesbrecht, Scott Kang, Nathan Yeung, Oliver Para,
Ethan New, Eathan Powell, Brady Fehlauer, Sean Heppner,
Braedy Euerby, Michael Weibe, Aaron Gibson, Tyler Mendoca.
15 players will travel to Chicago for the Great Lakes Wood Bat Classic, July 6-9.