Chino Smith

Smith was a powerful, 5’6″ lefthanded line-drive hitter who rarely struck out. Satchel Paige called him one of the two greatest hitters in Negro League history, and available statistics seem to support Paige’s assessment. From 1925 through 1930, Smith batted .406 in Negro League competition, .335 in the Cuban Winter League, and, reportedly, .405 in exhibitions against major leaguers. He batted third for the powerful New York Lincoln Giants of the late 1920s. In 1929 he collected 118 hits in 67 games, leading the Negro American League with a .463 average, 24 HR, and 28 doubles. His .429 mark in 1930 was again the league high. Smith’s career ended tragically before his 30th birthday; playing in Cuba the following winter, he died from what was probably yellow fever.