St. Louis Cardinals: Ozzie Smith belongs on the franchise’s Mount Rushmore
There’s a reason why Smith was known as the “Wizard of Oz.” He was a player who not only made an impact on the St. Louis Cardinals, but also was the very essence of defensive brilliance at the shortstop position for a generation of baseball fans.
Smith’s defensive artistry redefined the position of shortstop. His acrobatics, impeccable fielding, and incredible range made him a defensive maestro, earning him an impressive 13 Gold Glove Awards. His iconic backflips onto the field before games became a symbol of his extraordinary athleticism and enthusiasm.
Beyond his defensive wizardry, Smith’s leadership and character were instrumental in shaping the Cardinals’ identity from 1982 (when he was debuted with the team after a trade with the San Diego Padres) until his retirement in 1996. His contributions helped lead the Cardinals to a World Series championship in 1982 and his walk-off homer in Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS is one of the most beloved moments in Cardinals history.
A 15-time All-Star, Smith’s legacy with the St. Louis Cardinals extends far beyond statistics. His impact on the franchise continues even today as, this spring, Nolan Arenado requested that Smith be a part of Cardinals spring training.