Roy Smalley III
October 25, 1952 |
Los Angeles, California
|April 30, 1975 for the Texas Rangers|
Last MLB appearance
|October 4, 1987 for the Minnesota Twins|
|Runs batted in||694|
Career highlights and awards
Roy Frederick Smalley III (born October 25, 1952 in Los Angeles, California) is a former professional baseball shortstop. From 1975 through 1987, Smalley played in Major League Baseball for the Texas Rangers (1975–76), Minnesota Twins (1976–82; 1985–87), New York Yankees (1982–84) and Chicago White Sox (1984). He was a switch-hitter and threw right-handed. His father, Roy Jr. was also a former major league shortstop, and his uncle, Gene Mauch was a long-time major league manager.
Smalley attended and played college baseball at the University of Southern California. While at USC he was a part of the 1972 and 1973 College World Series championship teams. He was named an All-American and received All-College World Series honors in 1973. Smalley was drafted four times by Major League baseball teams between 1970 and 1973 without signing. After being selected by the Montreal Expos in the 35th round of the June 1970 draft, he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 4th round of the January 1971 draft, by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2nd round on the June 1971 draft, and again by the Red Sox in the 5th round of the January 1972 draft. Smalley was the number one overall pick in the January 1974 amateur draft by the Rangers.
After signing, Smalley was sent to the Pittsfield Rangers in the AA Eastern League where he held his own, hitting .251 with 14 home runs and 42 RBI as a 21 year old straight out of college. Following a brief stint with the AAA Spokane Indians, Smalley would be promoted to the big leagues for good, seeing time in 78 games for the Rangers in 1975, despite hitting only .228 with 3 home runs. Smalley would start the 1976 season back in Texas, but would not improve on his 1975 average. On June 1, his career would take a major corner.
Under the ownership tenure of Calvin Griffith, the Twins franchise made few headlines in the transaction department. However, Smalley's arrival to, and departure from, the Twins both involved blockbuster trades. On June 1, 1976, Smalley was traded to the Twins, along with Texas infielder Mike Cubbage, pitchers Jim Gideon and Bill Singer and cash, for Twins' ace Bert Blyleven and shortstop Danny Thompson. Smalley would be inserted into the Twins' starting lineup and man shortstop until 1982. During his first go around with the Twins, Smalley would develop into an all-star.
Smalley's best season came in 1979, when he was voted the starting shortstop for the American League in the All-Star game. Smalley had a sensational first half of the season, entering the break with the second-highest batting average in the Major Leagues (.341). Though he tailed off in the second half, Roy established career highs in runs, RBIs and home runs, and was named the shortstop on The Sporting News AL All-Star team. In 1979 he also led the league in games played, plate appearances, all fielders in assists, and all shortstops in putouts, while hitting .271 and leading the team with 24 home runs and 95 RBI. He did not build on this season with the Twins, as injuries struck, and he played only 133 games in 1980 and 56 in 1981.
Yankees and White Sox
After showing that he'd recovered from his injuries, Smalley was traded on April 10, 1982 to the Yankees for pitchers Ron Davis and Paul Boris and shortstop Greg Gagne. With the Yankees, Smalley showed a glimpse of the player he had been in 1979, hitting 20 home runs in 1982 and 18 in 1983. After a bad start to the 1984 season, in which he hit only .239 with 7 home runs and 26 RBI over the first 67 games of the season, Smalley was traded again, this time to the White Sox for middle reliever Kevin Hickey and future Pittsburgh Pirates Cy Young and 155-game winner Doug Drabek.
Back to the Twins
Smalley was a member of Minnesota's 1987 World Championship team.
He was inducted in the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007. Smalley now works for Fox Sports North as an analyst during Minnesota Twins games. In 2010, Smalley opened a restaurant near the Twins new home park, Target Field, called Smalley's '87 Club, however it closed in February 2012. Smalley serves as the President on the Board of Directors for the nonprofit organization Pitch in for Baseball. He was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.
- Roy Smalley page at Baseball-Reference
- John Kuenster (August 1979). "Roy Smalley Making His Mark as one of the Best All Around Shortstops". Baseball Digest. p. 17.
- Sports Standouts, USC Trojan Family Magazine, Spring 2007, Accessed May 21, 2010.
- Vomhof Jr, John (March 18, 2010). "Roy Smalley's Club 87 to replace Champps downtown".
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Baseball Library