The Negro League baseball history fact for today - February 7, 2013Al Smith was born in Kirkwood, Missouri on this date; 1928. Smith spent two years in Negro League baseball (1947, 1948) with the Cleveland Buckeyes who the Negro American League pennant in 1947. He was one of eight Negro League players that made their Major League debut in 1953. An outfielder and third baseman, Smith had a 12 year Major League career which included playing on the 1954 American League champion Cleveland Indians and the 1959 American League champion Chicago White Sox.
Rookie class of 1963Spring training for Major League baseball teams will be in full swing by the end of this month. Baseball fans will be watching to see if any young players will have a breakout spring and make their Major League debut this summer.
In the spring training camps fifty years ago, there were young players who would get their first taste of the Major Leagues in 1963. Baseball’s all-time hits leader Pete Rose, 21 years old, was the 1963 National League Rookie of the Year. A 20 year old Joe Morgan played in the first eight games of his Hall of Fame career that year with the Houston Colt 45’s. Dick Allen, who was also 21 and would be the 1964 National League Rookie of the Year, got his first two career RBI’s in the ten games he played in 1963. Three members of the Detroit Tigers 1968 World Series champion made their debut; Willie Horton (played in 20 games and hit his Major League career home run) was 20 years, Mickey Lolich (won his first five Major League career games) was 22, and Denny Mclain (won his first two Major League career games) was 19.Who was your favorite Major League rookie player?