December 6, 2021

The Baseball 100: No. 93, Ozzie Smith (The Athletic)

Starting in December and ending on Opening Day, we at The Athletic will count down the 100 greatest baseball players by publishing an essay on a player every day for 100 days. In all, this project will contain roughly as many words as “Moby Dick.” Yes, we know it’s nutty. We hope you enjoy. 

Ozzie Smith was the greatest defensive player I ever saw. This is not to downplay the sheer awesomeness of Andrelton Simmons, Andruw Jones, Adrián Beltré or Nolan Arenado among others. It’s just that, to me, the Wizard invented a whole new way to play defense. He made jaw-dropping plays so often that you couldn’t take your eyes off him.

He was so good that when watching a Cardinals game you would turn the channel when they were on offense.

There are numbers that show his defensive radiance. In 1980, while playing for San Diego, he had 621 assists, a record that will likely never be broken. Why will it never be broken? Because many more balls were put in…

Read “The Baseball 100: No. 93, Ozzie Smith” at The Athletic