Going Straight Two Hal
Hal W. Smith was born in 1930 and was a starting catcher in 648 major league regular season games, in a career running from 1955 to 1964. In 1960, Hal W., playing for the Pirates against the Yankees, hit a Game 7, eighth inning, come-from-behind, three-run homer that might have been remembered as one of the most important hits in World Series history, if it hadn’t been followed an inning later by his teammate Bill Mazeroski’s Series-ending walk-off home run. Hal W. had originally been signed by the Yankees, but they’d traded him away after the 1954 season, as part of the huge, multi-player deal that brought Don Larsen, among others, to New York.
Hal R. Smith was born about six months after Hal W., was a starting catcher in 484 major league regular season games in a career that ran primarily from 1956 through 1961 and included an appearance in one of the two 1959 All-Star Games. Hal R. retired from active play after the 1961 season due to a heart problem, but played a few games for the Pirates in 1965, moving briefly from the coaching staff to the roster when the Bucs faced a temporary catcher shortage.
Hal W. played a majority of his career games in the AL, while Hal R. played his whole career in the NL. But there were two seasons, 1960 and 1961, when they were both in the National League — Hal W. with the Pirates and Hal R. with the Cardinals. Hal Smith and Hal Smith were the opposing starting catchers in the following eight games:
Cards at Pirates May 19, 1960
Pirates at Cards June 11, 1960
Pirates at Cards June 12, 1960
Pirates at Cards July 27, 1960
Cards at Pirates August 13, 1960
Pirates at Cards August 28, 1960
Pirates at Cards May 26, 1961
Pirates at Cards May 28, 1961
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