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Hilton Smith
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Hilton Smith

Hilton Smith (February 27, 1912 - November 18, 1983) was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He began his baseball career in 1932 and played in black baseball's equivalent of the minor leagues until late in 1936, when he signed with the Kansas City Monarchs. From 1937 until his retirement in 1948 Smith was the best pitcher on the Monarchs, possessing what may have been the best curveball in baseball history, but he was overshadowed by his more flamboyant teammate Satchel Paige. Often Paige would pitch the first three innings of a game, leaving Smith to pitch the remaining six. Paige would then receive credit for his "win". Moreover, unlike Paige, Smith was a very good hitter.

After retiring from baseball, Hilton Smith worked as a schoolteacher and later as a steel plant foreman. He also scouted for the Chicago Cubs. Smith had a quiet, reserved temperament, but in his later years he stood up for himself and fellow Negro Leaguers in their struggle to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was not until 2001 that he became a member of the Hall.

Known Statistics: 82 Wins-32 Losses, .326 Career Batting Average