Nickname: Wonderful Willie
>> Visit the Willie Smith biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.
"Wonderful" Willie Smith, who spent nine seasons in the major leagues including three seasons as a pitcher, died on Jan. 16, 2006 in Anniston, Ala., following an apparent heart attack. He was 66.
Smith hit .248 in 1,654 at-bats with 46 home runs, 211 RBI and 20 stolen bases. He pitched 61 innings over three seasons and finished with a 2-4 record and two saves with 39 strikeouts and a 3.10 ERA.
Smith's professional baseball career began in the Negro Leagues. He made his major league debut in 1963 with the Detroit Tigers. He pitched in 11 games that season.
In April 1964, the Tigers traded him to the Los Angeles Angels for Julio Navarro. He pitched 31.2 innings in 15 games for the Angels that season. That season, he hit .301 in 359 at-bats with 11 home runs and 51 RBI.
He followed that up with a career-high 14 home runs and 57 RBI in 1965.
In June 1968, he was traded by the Indians to the Cubs for Lou Johnson. That was the last season that he pitched in the majors when he appeared in a total of 7.2 innings for the Indians and Cubs.
In November 1970, the Cubs traded Smith to the Reds for Danny Breeden.