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Lawrence Patrick "Paddy" Smith (b. May 16, 1894 in Pelham, NY – d. December 2, 1990 in New Rochelle, NY) was a backup catcher in Major League Baseball who played briefly for the Boston Red Sox during the 1920 season. A native of Pelham, New York, he attended Fordham University.
With a good Irish name like Paddy and a commonplace surname like Smith, it turns out that this major leaguer’s father was Italian. Paddy’s father, Angelo Amato, and his brother, Dominic Amato, moved to the United States from Monte San Giacomo near Salerno, Italy. They married the Houlihan sisters from Kingston, New York, whose parents were from Ireland, in 1888.
Whether due to impatient immigration officials or a desire better to fit in with a name that was less “foreign” in the New World, many immigrants had their last name changed when they arrived in America. Angelo Amato changed his name to Charlie Smith for such a reason when he came to America in 1881. He told the census enumerators in 1900 that he’d been born in Italy, of two Italian parents, in September 1865.
The families (both the Amato/Smiths and the Houlihans) originally settled in Kingston, New York, where the men worked the bluestone quarries. They moved to Pelham and started Smith Brothers Construction Co., which was quite successful.
Paddy took a break in his baseball career to serve in the United States Navy during World War I. After returning, in 1920 Paddy appeared in two games for the Red Sox and went hitless in two at bats (.000). He did not have any fielding chances in one catching appearance. His grandson, Thomas Smith, writes that from 1920 through 1936, his grandfather played for the top independent semipro clubs in the New York area: Tesreau’s Bears (1920-21), Doherty Silk Sox (1922-5), and the Brooklyn Bushwicks (1926-36). In a May 30, 1921 game for the Bears, he got two base hits off Satchel Paige, stole a base, and scored the winning run in a 2-1 victory over Paige’s Lincoln Giants.
Thomas also lists 34 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame with whom or against whom his grandfather played at one time or another. The list includes Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, John McGraw, and 31 others. Paddy was apparently quite an attraction, helping keep games lively with his lively banter and jockeying from behind the plate or on the bench.
He died at the age of 96 in New Rochelle, New York.
(excerpted from SABR, Baseball Almanac, BR Bullpen & Wikipedia)
Paddy is part of the Military Service during Wartime Tour – go to the Next Stop
Paddy is part of the Red Sox Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop
Paddy has NO baseball cards at TCDB
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