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Lafayette Drillers Flashback: Thomas Smith

(Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)

 

The Lafayette Drillers, a Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, called Lafayette, Louisiana their home for two years, from 1975-1976.

The Drillers, who played their home games at Clark Field, were co-champions of the Texas League in 1975 with the Midland Cubs, finishing 72-57, before going 58-76 in 1976, the last year of affiliated professional baseball in Lafayette.

A number of outstanding players, who eventually made it into Major League Baseball ranks played at Clark Field in 1975 & 1976, including five former Lafayette Driller players.

All summer long, we’re taking a look back at some of the former players for the Drillers.

Today, Thomas Smith.

Smith was a line-drive hitting outfielder who played for the Drillers in 1975, their inaugural season in Lafayette.

A native of San Diego, California, Smith was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 17th round of the 1970 MLB Draft out of Abraham Lincoln High School in San Diego.

The 6-foot, 170-pound Smith, who had a wiry build, began his professional career as a shortstop, before moving to third base, and then eventually to the outfield, where he played the 1975 season with the Drillers.

At the age of 23 in 1975, Smith played 96 games in the outfield for the Drillers, committing nine errors.

Smith provided Lafayette with some occasional power at the plate, hitting seven home runs, to go along with a .240 batting average, and 56 runs batted in.

In 379 at-bats, Smith accumulated 91 hits, 55 runs, 17 doubles, six triples, ten stolen bases, and 38 walks, while striking out 56 times.

The switch-hitting Smith was sent down to A ball to begin 1976, before eventually making it as high as AAA in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization in 1979 and 1980, but never made it to Major League Baseball.

 

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