He was a primary caregiver to Jency's kids as she found it hard as divorced parent. He always worried would happen if he and Carolyn were not there anymore.
He was a professional baseball player, coach and scout. Sadly, he died on April 12, 2014 of a heart attack.
Official Hal Smith website - Bio, baseball cards, stats and more. Includes videos of Hal being inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Arkansas Hall of Fame.
BaseballReference.com - Shows Hal's career stats (and a cute picture of him in his prime)
Hal Smith dies, played 10 seasons - ESPN, 4/14/2014.
Hal Smith: Cardinals all-star catcher made pitchers better - RetroSimba (Cardinals history page), 4/20/2014. Nice article in Hal's memory, with more detailed information about how he contributed to the sport.
Hal Smith - Wikipedia article (with another nice picture)
Harold Raymond “Hal” Smith - Another obituary on the Talk Business Arkansas website, 4/14/2014. It tells us that:
- Hal attended Fort Smith Public Schools, graduating from Fort Smith High School (now Northside High School) in 1949. He also attended Westark College (now University of Arkansas Fort Smith).
- Hal's baseball career began with the Fort Smith Boys Club where he played his first organized baseball. That early baseball foundation led all the way to the Major Leagues.
- In 1949, Hal signed a professional contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and was immediately assigned to their Albany, Georgia minor league team. In 1955, Hal was the top fielding catcher in the AA Texas League. From 1956 – 61, Hal was the catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals.
- In 1957 – 58, Hal was selected to the National League All-Star Team. In the 1959 All-Star game played at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Hal played on the same team with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks and Cardinals teammate Stan Musial.
- In 1959, he caught in 141 games, an iron man feat never equaled by such Hall of Fame catchers as Bill Dickey and Mickey Cochrane. His career fielding average of .989 is the same as catching great Yogi Berra.
- Hal's big league career also included coaching for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers before returning to the Cardinals and finishing out his final working years scouting.
- Following his playing days, he served the Redbirds as coach and scout – spending over 40 years with the Cardinals organization.