Hilton Smith

Smith was an outstanding pitcher for the Kansas City Monarchs. He had an excellent curveball and used a variety of pitches intelligently. Smith threw a no-hitter against the Chicago American Giants in 1937 and didn’t lose a game in 1938, according to teammate Buck O’Neil. Statistics are available only for the latter, and poorer, portion of his career; he had a sore arm in 1943, but published Negro American League figures give him a 23-13 mark for 1944 through 1948. He went 6-1 in exhibitions against white major leaguers and 10-5 over two Cuban Winter League stints. He was the top pitcher (8-5) for the 1946-47 Venezuelan Winter League champion Vargas club. On March 1, 1947 in Caracas, Vargas defeated the New York Yankees 4-3; Smith started, allowing no runs and just one hit in five innings.

Smith won two NAL playoff games in relief, against the Chicago American Giants in 1937 and the St. Louis Stars in 1939. His two Black World Series wins came as a starter, the first in Kansas City’s 1942 sweep of the Homestead Grays, the second in the 1946 Series loss to the Newark Eagles. He appeared in every East-West all-star game played from 1937 through 1942, starting twice for the West and going 1-2. A fine hitter, he was used off the bench and in the outfield. Published figures give him a .326 NAL average from 1944 through 1948, with a high of .431 late in 1946.