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John Smiley (baseball)

John Patrick Smiley (born March 17, 1965) is an American former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for four teams: the Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Indians in a twelve-year career from 1986 to 1997.

John Smiley
Born: (1965-03-17) March 17, 1965 (age 54)
Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 1, 1986, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
August 30, 1997, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
Win–loss record126–103
Earned run average3.80
Career highlights and awards

Early lifeEdit

Smiley graduated from Perkiomen Valley High School in 1983, where he played sports as a baseball pitcher, basketball point guard, and football quarterback.[1]


Despite never playing minor league baseball higher than Class A, Smiley entered spring training before the 1987 Pittsburgh Pirates season with a relief pitcher role already in place, with manager Jim Leyland saying he would have to "pitch his way off the club".[2] In Smiley's first full season, he led the Pirates in appearances with 63 games. Smiley was converted to a starting pitcher in 1988, lowering his earned run average by a full 2.5 runs per game, posting a 3.25 ERA and 13 wins against 11 losses.

Smiley was a two time All-Star: as a Pirate in 1991, a season in which Smiley led the National League with twenty wins and finished third in the Cy Young Award balloting; and in 1995 with the Reds, a season in which he had twelve wins and five losses. In August 1995, Smiley surrendered a home run to Braves pitcher Tom Glavine — the only homer Glavine hit in his major league career. Shortly after, he was traded to the Indians by the Reds with Jeff Branson for Jim Crowell, Danny Graves, Damian Jackson and Scott Winchester. Smiley broke his left humerus while warming up for a start in 1997. The injury ended his career.

In 2019, Smiley was portrayed by Troy Doherty in an episode of This Is Us.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 1990 Topps baseball card # 568
  2. ^ Meyer, Paul (February 23, 1987). "Smiley has job wrapped up as Pirates lefty short reliever". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 13.

External linksEdit