Lonnie Smith

Lonnie SmithSmith was one of the fastest runners of his era, and he used that raw speed to forge a 17-year career in the majors. But he was also a good hitter, batting over .300 six times – two times each for the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, and Atlanta Braves.

He was called Skates because of the peculiar way he seemed to glide across the ground. Smith was a left-handed batter and at one point in the 1979 season his time to first base from the batters’ box was the fastest ever.

Smith was a winner almost everywhere he went: he was in the World Series with the Phillies in 1980; with the Redbirds in his first season with them in 1982; in his first season with the Kansas City Royals in 1985; and with the Braves in 1991. In the latter year he was a goat of sorts when he failed to score on a hit in Game Seven when he most likely should have scored the first run of a scoreless game.

Highest Batting Average, 1980-1989 National League
1. Tony Gwynn … .332
2. Pedro Guerrero … .308
3. Tim Raines … .303
4. Lonnie Smith … .301
5. Keith Hernandez … .300
6. Jerry Mumphrey … .295
7. Willie McGee … .292
8. Bill Madlock … .292
9. Jose Cruz … .290
10. George Hendrick … .288

(minimum 700 games played)