Thursday, May 27, 2010

T206 Brooklyn Dodgers: Happy Smith

Henry Joseph "Happy" Smith was on his way up. He was born in a small coastal town called Coquille, Oregon where timber and steamboats ruled the land. Soon he traveled a little bit south to San Jose, California where he made a name for himself with the independent California League San Jose Prune Pickers. In this farm town Happy ruled the Baseball landscape and became a fan favorite. In 1908 he batted .333 and followed that up with a .342 average the next year. Of special note, a young "Prince" Hal Chase, a would-be Hall of Famer if not for his corrupt ways, was a teammate of his there.

Somewhere along the way he signed with the Chicago Cubs, but was subsequently traded to the Brooklyn Superbas before he could lace it up on the northside. In 1910 Happy made his debut, but failed to impress on a team that didn't impress many. He batted .237 with no power. Even though his average was higher than the teams collective .229 he would only get into 35 games. That was all she wrote for Happy Smith in Blue.

By one account he was injured, but to no avail. He returned home to San Jose later in 1910 and played a few games in front of a friendly crowd. In 1911 and 1912 he played in Montgomery, Alabama, and came back home to play with the San Jose Bears in 1913. That season he lead the California State League in batting with a .323 average.

In researching Happy Smith I found a song written by Peter Kay called "The Ballad of Happy Smith." Check it out here. It's pretty good.

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