April 21, 1863|
|Died: December 1, 1927
|April 17, 1884 for the Altoona Mountain City|
Last MLB appearance
|October 9, 1898 for the St. Louis Browns|
George J. "Germany" Smith (April 21, 1863 – December 1, 1927) was an American Major League Baseball player from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He played primarily shortstop for five different teams spanning 15 seasons. He made his major league debut for Altoona Mountain City of the Union Association in 1884. After Altoona's team folded after just 25 games, he jumped to the Cleveland Blues of the National League. After the 1884 season, Cleveland then sold him, along with 6 other players, to the Brooklyn Bridegrooms for $4000.
On June 17, 1885, Germany reportedly committed seven errors intentionally, when his team decided to punish new pitcher, Phenomenal Smith, losing the game 18-5. All 18 runs against the brash left-hander were unearned‚ due to a total of 14 Brooklyn "errors". "Phenomenal" gave himself his nickname before he joined the team‚ saying that he was so good that he didn't need his teammates to win. The intentional misplays of his teammates caused club President Lynch to fine the guilty players $500 each‚ but he reluctantly agrees to release Smith to ensure team harmony.
A reliable shortstop in the days when a fielding average below .900 could lead the league, he did, in fact, lead the American Association in 1887, with an .886 average. When the AA folded in 1890, he, along with most members of the team transferred to the National League's new Brooklyn franchise. In 1891 John Montgomery Ward took over as manager and shortstop, effectively ending Smith's career with Brooklyn, so he left and joined the Cincinnati Reds. There he led NL shortstops in assists each year from 1891 to 1894. Smith later returned in 1897, when Cincinnati and Brooklyn swapped shortstops, with Tommy Corcoran moving to the Reds.
His major league career came to end after the 1898 season, when he played just 51 games for the St. Louis Browns, and moved on to play for the Minneapolis Millers of the Northwestern League for the 1899 and 1900 seasons.
- "Germany Smith's career stats". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 2008-02-13.
- "The Baseball Library: Germany Smith Chronology". baseballlibrary.com. Retrieved 2008-02-13.
- "Minneapolis Miller history". stewthornley.net. Retrieved 2008-02-13.
- "Germany Smith Dead". The New York Times, Friday, December 2nd, 1927. Retrieved 2008-02-13.[dead link]
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Germany Smith at Find a Grave