Roy Smalley (smallro02)
Roy Frederick Smalley III
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.
- School Los Angeles City College, University of Southern California
- High School Westchester High School (Los Angeles)
- Debut April 30, 1975
- Final Game October 4, 1987
- Born October 25, 1952 in Los Angeles, CA USA
The son of Roy Smalley and nephew of Gene Mauch, shortstop Roy Smalley had a 13-year major league career, spent mostly with the Minnesota Twins. During his big league days, he was an All-Star and hit 163 home runs.
After winning two College World Series titles with the University of Southern California and being drafted four times, Smalley was the first overall pick in the January 1974 amateur draft by the Texas Rangers and finally signed. He made his major league debut in April of 1975, and hit .228 that year while serving as back-up to regular shortstop Toby Harrah. With Harrah entrenched at short, Smalley and three others were traded to Minnesota in June 1976 as part of a six-player deal that brought Bert Blyleven to Texas. The trade also united Smalley with his uncle, Mauch, who was skipper of the Twins.
Smalley soon became Minnesota's regular shortstop, and despite putting up unspectacular numbers at the plate in his first two summers, he led American League shortstops in total chances, double plays, and assists in 1977. The next year, he again led AL shortstops in chances, doubles plays, and assists, while having a breakout season at the plate. He hit .273 and added 19 home runs and 77 RBI. In 1979, he put up even better numbers, batting .271 with 24 homers and 95 RBI, while earning a starting spot in the All-Star Game. He continued to put up solid numbers in 1980, hitting .278 with 12 home runs despite missing time with back problems. These got worse in 1981, and he only played in 56 games in the strike-shortened campaign.
Early in the 1982 season, Smalley was dealt to the New York Yankees for Ron Davis, Paul Boris, and Greg Gagne (who would later be the Twins' regular at short for many years). He continued to show some power in New York, but due to lingering effects of his back problems, his defensive skills declined, and he began to play more third base. Midway through the 1984 campaign, he was traded again, this time to the Chicago White Sox for Kevin Hickey and future Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek. He struggled in a Sox uniform, hitting just .170 with 4 home runs while mostly playing third base.
Smalley was traded back to the Twins prior to the 1985 season and hit 40 homers over three seasons with the club, playing mostly designated hitter. In 1987, he made the only postseason appearance of his career, going 1-for-2 with a double and 2 walks in the World Series. He hung up his spikes following that season.
As a shortstop, Smalley was known for his very unusual positioning, setting up much closer to home plate than any other shortstop of his day did.
- AL All-Star (1979)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1979, 1982 & 1986)
- Won a World Series with the Minnesota Twins in 1987