Happy Reds birthday, Mike Smith!
February 23, 1961
Two players named Mike Smith pitched in the late 1980s. This Mike Smith made his debut with the Reds in 1984, and pitched 12 games for Cincinnati from 1984 through 1986, but he never appeared on a card for the big league team. He also appeared in games for the Expos in 1988 and the Pirates in 1990, and as far as I can ascertain, his only major league issue came in the 1990 Topps/O-Pee-Chee set (#552) as a member of the Pirates; this is not to be confused with the Orioles’ Mike Smith who appears on card #249.
But wait, there’s more. The second Mike Smith—who never played for the big league Reds—was drafted by the Reds in 1984 and spent a few years in Cincinnati’s farm system before Baltimore took him in the Rule 5 draft in 1988. Though both pitchers were in the Reds’ system, they never played for the same team at the same time.
But wait, there’s more. In 1989, Mike Smith and Mike Smith were a part of the Baltimore Orioles organization, and both spent time with the Rochester Red Wings. Both had Rochester cards in the 1989 CMC AAA and 1989 ProCards Minor League sets.
In the 1990s, both Mike Smiths continued pitching in independent leagues, and the “other” Mike Smith (the one who never pitched at the major league level for the Reds), even attempted a comeback with the Reds in 1995, appearing in three games for the AA Chattanooga Lookouts. He continued pitching for independent league teams through 2006.