Ozzie Smith was a first-ballot selection for the Hall of Fame in 2002. The San Diego Padres let him slip between their fingers just as he was hitting his stride.
Drafted in the 4th round in ’77, Smith was the Pad’s regular shortstop the following year. In four seasons with San Diego, Smith hit just .231 with a .295 on-base percentage and 66 OPS+.
However, in his final season in America’s Finest City, Ozzie was named to his first All Star Game and earned a Gold Glove.
In an exchange of shortstops, San Diego dealt him to S. Louis for Gary Templeton in a 6-player trade. The switch-hitting Templeton was two years removed from his outstanding ’79 campaign in which he tallied 100 hits from each side of the plate. He had worn out his welcome with Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog.
Smith flourished in St. Louis, reeling off 11 straight All Star seasons and 14 overall for the Cards. His time in Missouri included 11 straight Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger Award in 1987.
Ozzie became recognized as one of the greatest ever fielders at his position. Templeton was solid though unspectacular in San Diego. He represented the Padres in one All Star Game and earned a Silver Slugger for San Diego in 1984.
Ozzie translated his fine play into lucrative contracts. He earned over $31,000,000 as a Cardinal.
Shown here is a not-so-lucrative contract. The terms: one penny per item sold. That’s what Ozzie signed for with the Autoball company. The item to be sold is a souvenir baseball with the team’s stamped facsimile signatures.
At the bottom of the contract is a panel shaped like a section of a baseball. Smith has signed it in four different places. This was done so that the player’s signature could be placed on any position on the ball.