Dave Smith, a former All-Star closer who holds the Houston Astros record for games pitched and who was a member of all three Houston playoff teams in the 1980s, died on Wednesday December 17th. He was 53.
Tim Flannery, a friend and now the third-base coach for the San Francisco Giants, said Smith apparently died of a heart attack, but there was no official word on the cause.
Smith, a right-hander, was an All-Star with Houston in 1986 and 1990. He played with Houston from 1980 to 1990, advancing to the playoffs in 1980, ’81 and ’86, before finishing his career with the Chicago Cubs.
Over his 13-year career, Smith compiled a 53-53 record over 603 appearances, recording a 2.67 earned run average and 216 saves.
His 563 appearances with the Astros leads the club’s list, and his 199 saves ranks second behind Billy Wagner. He had 33 saves in 1986, his career high.
Flannery said he spent time Wednesday afternoon with members of the Smith family in northern San Diego County. Flannery and Smith worked together on the San Diego Padres’ coaching staff from 1999 until Smith resigned in June 2001. Smith missed the first month of the 2001 season to complete an alcohol rehabilitation program.
Smith was born on Jan. 21, 1955, in Richmond, Calif. He attended San Diego State and was selected by the Astros in the eighth round of the 1976 draft, according to the Web site MLB.com. Information about survivors was unavailable.
Smith, who wore his thick blond hair long as a player, was an avid surfer. Flannery said that he and other surfers planned to paddle out into the Pacific Ocean to spread Smith’s ashes on the water.
“That was what he asked,” Flannery said. “That is what surfers do."