Charles William Smith
New York Mets
Born: September 15, 1937, Charleston, SC
Signed: Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent before 1957 season
Major League Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers 1960-1961; Philadelphia Phillies 1961; Chicago White Sox 1962-1964; New York Mets 1964-1965; St. Louis Cardinals 1966; New York Yankees 1967-1968; Chicago Cubs 1969
Died: November 29, 1994, Reno, NV (age 57)
Charlie Smith, or Charley Smith per most reference sources, played for 10 years in the Majors mostly in a utility infielder role. Primarily a third baseman, he appeared in over 120 games in a season five different times with the Dodgers and Phillies in 1961, the White Sox and Mets in 1964, the Mets again in 1965, the Cardinals in 1966 and the Yankees in 1967. Smith was sent to the Yankees in December 1966 in the deal that saw Roger Maris (#155) head to St. Louis.
In 771 career games, Smith hit .239 with 69 home runs and 281 RBIs, finishing three years in the top 10 for strikeouts.
January 25, 2020 from Los Angeles, CA - Card #39
Some January days are longer than others, and on a particularly long January day at work a few months ago, I decided I needed a few more 1965 Topps cards for our set. I've been familiar with Greg Morris Cards for a while now, as I've been using a lot of the images of old Topps cards scanned for their eBay auction listings in these posts and within the posts over at my 1956 Topps blog. The images are always centered and clear and for all the help Greg Morris has indirectly provided me, I thought I'd browse his eBay store.
Given the vast inventory available, I figured there had to be at least a few 1965 Topps cards up for auction, and I was correct. I stumbled upon a set break and I set about finding auctions with no current bidders and cards graded at least EX-MT. I bid on a total of 20 auctions, winning 10 of them, including this Smith card. I was the first and sole bidder on the Smith card and the first Mets card for our set was on its way to us from Los Angeles for a winning bid of $0.79.
This card gives us a fantastic look at the New York World's Fair patch the Mets wore on their sleeves during the 1964 season. Smith appeared in every Topps set between 1962 and 1969, and he's Charlie on his cards for every year except 1963 and 1967 when Topps went with Charley. This is his only Topps card to refer to him as a part-time outfielder, as Smith had played 13 games in left field for the Mets in 1964. For his career, Smith appeared on the field in 698 games with 623 of those appearances coming at third base.
His 20 home runs in 1964 were indeed tops on the Mets, with Joe Christopher (#495) and his 16 home runs finishing second on the team.
Mets Team Set
This would be Smith's best season in the Majors. As the everyday first baseman for the Mets, Smith hit .244 over 135 games with 16 home runs and a career high 62 RBIs. Following the season, the Mets traded Smith to the Cardinals with Al Jackson (#381) for Ken Boyer (#100).
|1961 Sports Service Phillies|
On May 4, 1961, the Phillies traded Turk Farrell (#80) and Joe Koppe to the Dodgers for Smith and Don Demeter (#429). The Dodgers were in need of a closer having lost Ed Roebuck (#52) to a shoulder injury and the Phillies were looking to rebuild following a 95-loss season in 1960. Demeter was the key return for the Phillies with the 23-year-old Smith seemingly included as a throw-in. Smith immediately took over the starting third baseman's job from the platoon of Bobby Malkmus and Bob Sadowski (#156).
In 112 games for the Phillies, Smith hit .248 with 9 home runs and 47 RBIs. His defense was shaky as he finished in fourth place for the highest number of errors committed in the N.L. with 28. Following the season, Smith was on the move again, traded to the White Sox on November 28th with John Buzhardt (#458) for Roy Sievers (#574).
Smith appeared on a few oddball issuances as a Phillie, but there's no mainstream baseball cards to mark his one season with the club.
First Mainstream Card: 1962 Topps #283
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (8): 1962-1969
Most Recent Mainstream Card: 1978 TCMA 1960s I #289
33 - Smith non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 1/26/20.
The Trading Card Database
In some cases, the first and last cards listed above are subjective and chosen by me if multiple cards were released within the same year. Most recent mainstream card may also be subjective and does not include extremely low serial numbered cards, buybacks or cut autograph cards.