Dave Smith, a native of California, was selected in the 8th round out of college by the Houston Astros in the 1976 draft.
Dave Smith (Credit: Bob Timmermann)
"“The pitcher made his big league debut on April 11, 1980, when he allowed one hit and walked two in a one-inning relief appearance against the Dodgers.” – Alyson Footer"
He went on to finish that season with a 1.93 ERA across 102 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. That performance earned him 5th in the 1980 NL Rookie-of-the-Year voting process.
The Astros finished in a tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers during 1980. After a one-game playoff for the division champions, the Astros won and qualified for the postseason for the first time in their history.
Smith appeared in 3 games during the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Although he was 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 2 1/3 innings, the Astros lost the series 3-2. Smith continued to be a key component of the Astros bullpen for the next ten seasons. He did make an appearance in each year that the Astros made the postseason in the 1980’s.
Dave’s best season as an Astros came in the 1987 campaign. It’s true that Smith had more saves during the 1986 season. But in terms of doing his job, he did better in 1987:
- 1.65 ERA
- 1.54 FIP
- 1.00 WHIP
- 24 saves/29 opportunities (82.8%)
- 60 innings pitched
- 0 home runs allowed
- 5.9 H/9
- 73 strikeouts to 21 walks (3.48 K/BB)
Smith retired following the 1992 season with the Chicago Cubs. Over his 13-year career he saved 216 games to go with a 53-53 record across 603 total appearances. Dave Smith passed away, aged-53, in 2008 following a heart attack.
Next: 1992: Doug Jones