Ozzie Smith chats up fans online

Ozzie Smith chats up fans online

Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith shared memories from his 19 season in the Major Leagues during a live Web chat Wednesday. The Wizard, who spent 15 seasons with the Cardinals, talked about past and present greats and what keeps him busy.

leyenda: What are you doing in your life now? Do you want to do something in baseball like manage or coach?

Ozzie Smith: I'm trying to enjoy life a little bit now. I'm the ambassador for education on the Hall of Fame. I speak a little on the circuit. I've worked a little with the Devil Rays as a consultant. As far as managing in the future, I'll never say never. I enjoy golf a lot and I also have a 16-year-old to keep up with, too. But I'm mostly trying to get the most out of my golf game.

elnrrigby: Ozzie what would you say to someone who dreams of being in the position that you once were in?

Smith: Well, to hold on to that dream and work hard. Treat every day as if it were the last day. You have to always give your best and do your best every day.

implode140045: Ozzie, who was your childhood hero growing up?

Smith: Besides my mother, I grew up an LA Dodgers fan and I would catch the bus to Chavez Ravine to see the Pirates play the Dodgers. The Pirates were my favorite visiting team and I loved watching Roberto Clemente.

Base_Ball_2: Ozzie, I am a lifelong Cardinals fan and you have always been my favorite player. What is your favorite moment as a Cardinal?

Smith: There were so many. Winning the World Series was special in 1982. Being a part of a triple play once when Bob Forsch was pitching. I think the one people will remember the most is the home run off the Dodgers in the 1985 playoffs. But also, Opening Day was special for me in St. Louis. The city really celebrates Opening Day. The parades and the Clydesdales with Mr. Busch on top, it was special.

ezegenova: Ozzie, which team do you think will be the strongest this season?

Smith: The teams that have been there -- the Yankees, Cardinals -- they will be tough. But Spring Training will tell us more. The teams have to avoid injuries. You have to avoid injuries, and if any team can do that, every team has a chance.

Base_Ball: Hi Ozzie. Which infield combination that you played with did you feel was most in sync together?

Smith: In 1985, the group of myself, Tom Herr, Terry Pendleton and Keith Hernandez was great. Actually, I also meant one with Ken Oberkfell, if I had to pick. But we had some great infields both years.

cardsandas: How do you feel about the World Baseball Classic and would you have enjoyed the opportunity to play for your country in a tournament like this?

Smith: I'm not sure I know enough about it to comment on it. There are some reservations about the injury factor, and that's real big. So, I don't know if this time of year is the best time for it. Whether it'll be a success has yet to be seen.

kinspfldmo: I saw your son on American Idol and think he is very talented. What has he been up to and did you ever push him to do sports or has he always had a love for music?

Smith: All of us who have children look for them to fall into sports, but that wasn't really his thing. We didn't force that on him. Music was his niche. He had a great opportunity with American Idol. His first CD is due for release this summer, and he's about to release a single in the next month or so.

srayvon_srayvon: Are you planning on being at new Busch Stadium for Opening Day? We sure hope so, me miss you a lot.

Smith: We're all (the Hall of Famers) invited back, and I should be there.

Base_Ball_2: What current player do you think has most of those Ozzie-rific skills?

Smith: I don't really know, but I guess Omar Vizquel is more like I was. But I have to say that there are a lot of great shortstops around. But the guy I was traded for, Garry Templeton, had more talent than just about anybody around. From hitting to fielding, he was so talented. From a talent standpoint, I never saw anyone with as much talent as Templeton.

mrcub296: Did you play other sports? Where did the flip come from?

Smith: Basketball was what I excelled at in high school. I took up the flip as a dare, and I did it on Opening Day. Occassionally I would do it at the All-Star Game, that was it.

jason_miller: Ozzie, the glove you used from Rawlings, was that specially made for you?

Smith: No, it was a six-fingered glove. I had a glove that was real worn when I got to the big leagues. So I started using this six-fingered glove, and I think it was a Stan Musial model. It became real popular.

Dan_Nielsen: Do you think that Albert Pujols will make a run at the Triple Crown this year?

Smith: If he stays healthy, he has the talent to do that.

Base_Ball_2: Does it surprise you that Julio Franco is still playing?

Smith: No, not really. I think he's a great example of how you could play if you are given an opportunity. But with him, he's been given the opportunity. He keeps himself in shape. Others have done that, too, but they don't get the opportunity. My goal was to possibly play in a limited role, but it didn't work out.

kubs04: When you were playing, did you prefer the true hop off the Astroturf or the slower roll of natural grass? Do you think this helped or hurt your stats at Busch? What modern-day ballpark would you like to call home today if you were still playing?

Smith: When I started playing in San Diego in 1978, I was thinking I might not be able to cover as much ground. But I found I had success. I think smaller guys like me could do it, because I didn't have a lot of weight to play on the hard turf. And offensively, I started to try to keep the ball on the ground to make myself better.

adamstl4: When you were young in San Diego, did you ever think that you would have the career that you did? Did you ever picture yourself as a Hall of Famer?

Smith: I never saw myself as a Hall of Famer. I see that as a different class of ballplayers. I wanted to get the big hit or make the big play to help my team, but I didn't think about being great or being a Hall of Famer. To do that, to work toward that, it helps you work it all out. It seems that consistency in an approach to the game is what makes a Hall of Famer.

musicbird: Do you believe that the art of switch-hitting is lacking in the Majors in recent years? If so, how much of an asset is it having a few good switch-hitters on the club?

Smith: It's a great asset. In the 1980's it helped us greatly. It gave our manager, Whitey Herzog, an advantage. We could all play each day against left-handed pitching or right-handed pitching. I remember when the Dodgers had all switch-hitters years ago, in their infield.

aubreyt239: What was working with B.J. Upton like? How is he progressing in your opinion and how good can he be?

Smith: How good he'll be depends on B.J. He has the skills and talent. Now it's about him harnessing the skills and talent. He's aware of that, and he wants to work hard. His goal is to stay in the big leagues and that was my goal when I came up as a young player in San Diego. He's still very young, and he has a wealth of talent. The errors he's been making I think come from his decision-making, and we worked on that, and he might have turned the corner.

Smith: I want to thank everyone for being here to chat with me. I hope to see you in Cooperstown on July 30 for induction ceremonies!