Relive the jaw-dropping barehanded play that Ozzie Smith once called his best ever
Earlier this week, we looked back on the time Giants outfielder Kevin Mitchell managed to snag an Ozzie Smith fly ball with nothing but his bare hand. Of course, Smith and his 13 career Gold Gloves were also no stranger to defensive highlights -- so, in the interest of fairness, let's all gawk at the play that Ozzie himself considered the best he ever made. (Don't worry, this one doesn't involve a glove either.)
The date was April 20, 1978. Smith was still years away from becoming The Wizard -- he was just a rookie shortstop back then, starting only his tenth career game for the Padres as they took on the Braves in San Diego. In the top of the fourth, Atlanta left fielder Jeff Burroughs smacked a hard ground ball just to the shortstop side of second base.
Smith quickly broke to his left, but just as he began his dive, disaster struck. The ball took a bad hop to Smith's right, back behind his glove. With no time to adjust, there was only one option left: Stick out his bare hand.
Do not adjust your computer screen, we promise that what you just saw really took place. It's no wonder that, while Smith would play 18 more years in the Major Leagues and make countless more spectacular plays, his dive that afternoon is still his very favorite.