Hal Smith in American Baseball
Billy D. Higgins
quiet kid from small-town Arkansas became an All Star fifty
The St. Louis Cardinals
were contenders in 1957 and ’59, two of Hal Smith’s
best years as a Major League player. Smith, out of tiny Barling,
Arkansas, had risen in the Minor Leagues, and even played
in Mexico, Cuba, and the Asian circuit. Readers will be intrigued
to learn key roles Smith played as baseball went through profound
changes in the late 1950s. At the time, Smith was helping
Bob Gibson grow into an All Star pitcher and Tim McCarver
to become one of the great catchers. Smith, himself, played
in the 1959 All Star Game—one of only two Cardinals
to do so that year.
The “Barling Darling” had a certain magic working
for him, a quality readers will discover within the pages
of this book. They will also observe the parallels between
baseball’s maturation during the 1950s and those of
American society at the time. Higgins has crafted the story
of a man who not only stood out in his time but also reflected
its best hopes, its dynamic evolution in the postwar era,
as well as the expansion of “America’s game”
onto the national stage, propelled in part by the medium of
the day, television.
Billy D. Higgins
is professor of history at the University of Arkansas-Fort
Smith and a member of the Society of American Baseball Researchers.
His previous book, A
Stranger and a Sojourner: Peter J. Caulder, Free Black Frontiersman
in Antebellum Arkansas, won the Ragsdale Award for
excellence in historical writing about Arkansas.
5 3/8 x 8 3/8, 240 pages, 20 black and white photographs
ISBN 978-1-935106-09-8 | 1-935106-09-0
Distributed for the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies.