It may be time for football season, but baseball is still going on. And no, I’m not talking about Ole Miss baseball. Instead, I’m talking about a current MLB player who used to play at Swayze Field for the Rebels from 2002-2004. This player is Seth Smith, current left fielder for the San Diego Padres.
Smith is having one of the best seasons in his career, hitting .292 with a .392 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .492. All of his efforts this year are attributed to his journey throughout the minors, which was a long road for the 31-year-old Jackson native.
After playing for the Casper Rockies, the Tri-City Dust Devils, the Modesto Nuts, the Tulsa Drillers and the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in the minor leagues, Smith was finally called up by the Colorado Rockies in 2007.
“It was fun and difficult at times, but thankfully, I was still able to stay healthy and make the adjustments in each league going forward,” Smith said. “I was able to take that next step each year leading up to 2007 when I got called up for the first time.”
In his rookie season, Smith gained the honor of playing in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. Smith would go on to play four more years for the Rockies and then moving on to play two years for the Oakland Athletics. Before the start of this season, Seth was traded to the Padres in what would become arguably his best season yet.
On opening day in his first at-bat for the Padres, Smith came off the bench in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers to hit a three-run homer to seal the victory. The very next game, Padres manager Bud Black inserted the former Rebel into the starting lineup. During the week of May 5-11, Smith was named the National League Player of the Week after leading all of baseball with an average of .500 (hitting 14-for-28), slugging percentage of 1.000, and total bases (28). It was the first honor for Smith in his career.
“It’s a long season, and I’ve had success up to this point. The true test is to keep it going, and trying to consistently have good at-bats every night,” Smith said.
In the month of July, the Padres traded their face of the franchise in Chase Headley to the Yankees and deservedly awarded Seth Smith with a two-year $13 million contract extension. Smith will be one of the leading catalysts of the Padres for the foreseeable future after his accomplishments this season.
For those that don’t know, the Ole Miss Rebels baseball team had a memorable 2014 season, making the semi-finals in the 2014 College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Smith keeps up with the Rebels every season, and visits with Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco every offseason.
“I loved playing there. My wife and I enjoyed our time there, and we love giving back,” Smith said. “We’re always rooting for them.”