Saturday, March 21, 2009

Newport and Major League Baseball: Pop Boy Smith, Sarge Bagby, & Jim Bagby Jr.

I wrote a long article for the Newport Plain Talk that was published in three parts shortly before the 2007 World Series. The prologue is here, and the three parts will follow as separate postings.

Apparently little known in the city’s history, Clarence Ossie Smith (1892-1924) is the only known Major League Baseball player born in Newport, Tennessee. Discovered while selling drinks at his local stadium, he proved to be a pitching sensation in the minor leagues but had a somewhat fitful experience in the majors. Still, he played in the majors for three years, and just reaching the majors was an incredible achievement.

His sister, Mabel Margaret Smith, also born in Newport, married a fellow pitcher, James Charles Jacob Bagby. Jim Bagby became the first pitcher to hit a home run in one of the most fascinating World Series games ever and was pitching when Babe Ruth passed a major milestone. In addition, Jim and Margaret had a son Jim Jr. who would also pitch in the World Series, making the two Jims the first father and son combination ever to pitch in the championship.

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