Sunday, November 27, 2016
585th Place - Mike Smithson
Rocky Top, you'll always be, home sweet home to Mike Smithson. Good ol' Rocky Top, Rocky Top Tennessee!
As a former employee of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, it always tickles me to come across alums of their program. Smithson was born in Centerville and took his 6'8" frame to Knoxville to pitch for the Volunteers. (Supposedly he was the tallest pitcher ever in the majors until Randy Johnson came around.) He was there at the same time as Rick Honeycutt - that must have been an intimidating starting rotation for the rest of the SEC.
Smithson's Wikipedia page makes reference to the fact that he pitched in the infamous longest game ever played, a minor league match that featured Rochester (Orioles affiliate) versus Pawtucket (Red Sox). Mike appeared in the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth innings. That game eventually ended after 32 innings and featured future Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Wade Boggs.
Though the Twins won it all in 1987 Smithson never appeared in the playoffs and he was released after the season, making this card moot. That might have been because of his 5.94 E.R.A. that season. He would go on to pitch for two more seasons, both in Boston, before hanging up his spikes.