Elmer Ellsworth "Mike" Smith
Major league player - Pittsburgh Pirates
Elmer Ellsworth Smith, better known as “Mike Smith,” was a left handed pitcher and outfielder in the early days of baseball. Although born in Allegheny (now Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhood), Smith’s career started in 1886 when, at age 18, he pitched for a team in Tennessee. Smith’s prowess was noticed by the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who signed him after only ten games down South. Smith spent the next thirteen years in the major leagues playing for The New York Giants, The Boston Beaneaters, and eventually coming back home to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1892. By the time he became a Pirate, his signature fastball had ruined his pitching arm and
he was brought on as an outfielder. Smith really made his
mark, however, batting. In 1893 he scored 121 runs and drove
in an additional 103 runs, helping his team post an 81-48
record for the year. He led the team in 1894 with a .357 batting
average and, in 1896, he was 8th in the National League with
a .362 batting average and a .454 on-base percentage.
By 1897, Smith’s star was dimming and he was part of a trade Pittsburgh brokered with his old team in Cincinnati. Smith’s first year back in Ohio was a good one and he maintained a .342 batting average. By 1900, Cincinnati loaned Smith to Giants, from whom he would be sent to both the Pirates and the Beaneaters, from whom he ended his major league career, retiring in 1901.
Despite the various teams for which Smith played he maintained a home on The North Side on Madison Avenue. After leaving baseball, Smith worked as an inspector for the Pittsburgh Bureau of Highways, a job from which he retired in 1931.