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Mayo Smith
Manager, Outfielder
Born: January 17, 1915(1915-01-17)
New London, Missouri
Died: November 24, 1977 (aged 62)
Boynton Beach, Florida
Batted: Left Threw: Right 
MLB debut
June 24, 1945 for the Philadelphia Athletics
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1945 for the Philadelphia Athletics
Career statistics
Batting average     .212
Hits     43
Runs batted in     11
Managerial win-loss record     662-612
Teams

As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Edward Mayo Smith (January 17, 1915 – November 24, 1977) was an American player, manager, and scout in Major League Baseball.

Smith was born in New London, Missouri, but grew up in Florida. A left-handed batter who threw right-handed, Smith was a career minor league outfielder who spent many seasons in the International League with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Bisons. At age 30, he played his only season in the major leagues, hitting .212 with the 1945 Philadelphia Athletics.

When his playing days ended, Smith became a manager in the farm system of the New York Yankees in 1949. After rising to the AA Birmingham Barons of the Southern Association in 1953-54, Smith was named manager of the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League. The Phillies of the mid-1950s had become an aging collection of the 1950 league champion "Whiz Kids" and, despite the heroics of perennial 20-game winner Robin Roberts, had to struggle to finish at the .500 mark. Smith compiled a 264–281 record in 3½ seasons before his firing on July 22, 1958.

He returned to a National League dugout in 1959 at the helm of the Cincinnati Reds, but a poor start (35–45 and seventh place) cost him his job and Fred Hutchinson replaced him at the All-Star break.

Smith then returned to the Yankees, serving as a "super scout" from 1960–66, until the Detroit Tigers called him back into harness, naming him their manager for 1967. He nearly won the American League pennant in his first year in Motown, losing out to the "Impossible Dream" Boston Red Sox on the last day of the season.

In 1968, however, the Tigers took no chances: led by 31-game-winner Denny McLain, they won 103 games and won the pennant by a dozen games. Led by the pitching of Mickey Lolich, who won the second, fifth, and seventh games, and who hit a home run in the second game, the Tigers came back from a three-games-to-one deficit to defeat the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals in the 1968 World Series, besting the mighty Bob Gibson in the seventh and deciding game.

In the series, Smith made one of the boldest and most talked-about managerial moves in modern baseball history. In this period before the designated hitter, the Tigers had rotated four good hitting outfielders (Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Jim Northrup and Mickey Stanley) for the three positions. Regular shortstop Ray Oyler, always a light hitter, famously went "0 for August" (Oyler hit .135 for the season). Concerned about his team's offense, Smith inserted Stanley as the starting shortstop. Stanley played credibly in the Series, and although he made two of Detroit's 11 errors, neither of Stanley's led to runs. He only hit .214 with no RBI for the Series. Meanwhile, the other three outfielders made solid contributions to the Tigers' dramatic victory. Stanley's seven games at shortstop were his 10th through 16th major league appearances at the position.

That season represented Smith's high-water mark as a manager. The Tigers fell to second place behind the dynastic Baltimore Orioles in 1969. Then, after a 79–83 season in 1970—a season marked by the suspension of McLain amid gambling allegations—the genial Smith was replaced by volatile Billy Martin as Tiger manager. In all or parts of nine seasons as a manager, Smith compiled a record of 662–612 (.520).

A very successful businessman off the field, Smith then retired from the game and concentrated on ranching and real estate investing in his home state of Florida. He died in 1977 in Boynton Beach after suffering a stroke.

A Tigers fan club was named the Mayo Smith Society in his memory by its members.

See also

External links

Preceded by
Terry Moore
Philadelphia Phillies Manager
1955–1958
Succeeded by
Eddie Sawyer
Preceded by
Jimmy Dykes
Cincinnati Reds Manager
1959
Succeeded by
Fred Hutchinson
Preceded by
Frank Skaff
Detroit Tigers Manager
1967–1970
Succeeded by
Billy Martin
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