Today marks the 63rd birthday of Hall of Famer Michael Jack Schmidt. Born in Dayton, Ohio on September 27th, 1949, Schmidt is best remembered for his seventeen years of service with the Philadelphia Phillies in the 70s and 80s. Even after his retirement, Schmidt worked for the Phillies organization as a hitting coach and manager for its Single A team, the Clearwater Threshers.
Schmidt is an icon in the city of Philadelphia. He led the 1980 Phillies to a World Series Championship, the first and only Baseball World Championship in the city’s history at the time. His #20 jersey is retired by the team and he even has his own statue outside of Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia. Even nationally, Schmidt is regarded as one of, if not, the best third baseman to ever play the game. He combined freak athleticism with raw power at a position that was typically reserved for smaller, defensive oriented players.
Over seventeen seasons, Schmidt hit 548 home runs while winning ten gold glove awards. Until Schmidt, only Harmon Killebrew and Eddie Matthews hit 500+ homers as a third baseman, and Killebrew played more first base than third. Schmidt’s ten gold gloves only trails Brooks Robinson for most career gold gloves by a third baseman. Schmidt hit a career .267, knocked in 1,595 runs and scored 1,506 runs. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995 as a first ballot selection.
Happy Birthday Mike!