Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith stand by the Cardinals practice field in Jupiter, Fla. that has been named after him.

(Cardinals radio, Mike Claiborne)

Ozzie Smith: I'm Not The Only Cardinal Who Deserves A Field Named In His Honor

February 22, 2018 - 1:50 pm
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JUPITER, Fla. (KMOX) - Pitchers will report to Bob Gibson's bullpen at 10:30 a.m., as outfielders head to Lou Brock field, catchers will take batting practice on Stan Musial field and infielders will, of course, take grounders on The Wizards mini baseball diamond. How much better would that look on a schedule, rather than fields 1-4? 

Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith certainly agrees, as he and George Kissell share in honor of former Cardinals with parts of the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex named after them. The Cardinals clubhouse in Jupiter, Fla. is where the late Kissell has as a plaque outside of the door to commemorate his nearly 70 years as a players, coach and head of the farm system with St. Louis.

Smith has a field named in his honor. It sits back with the other full-size practice fields, but his is just big enough to hold a MLB regulation infield. That's all the room Smith needs to run drills with the Cardinals infielders. 

 

The field has a large sign on the fence: "The Land of Oz" Where Cardinal Infielders Become Wizards.

Smith says he has Cardinals field manager Mark DeJohn to thank, who first brough up the idea of the small field a few years ago and wanted to put Ozzie's name on it. The field was made before the start of spring training in 2017, but named after Smith this year. 

"It would be a nice touch I think to put all of the Hall of Fame names on these fields here," Smith says. "That way you can take the numbers down and just say, 'Hey, you're going to Bob Gibson field or you're going to Lou Brock field."

Smith, who has been using his field throughout the first week of Cardinals spring training says the most important things, besides techinque, that he wants to teach the players is work ethic. 

"When you're trying to evaluate players you look at what their work ethic is," Smith says. "You give me a guy who has good work ethic and less talent than the guy who has the great talent and no work ethic, I'm probably going to get more out of the guy with less talent."

Another coach that's often right next to Smith is Jose Oquendo, who's back in Cardinals camp after taking two years off of coaching due to health reasons. This will be his 17th year with St. Louis, serving as third base coach for the first 16 seasons. 

"Jose has really, really been one of those guys that you talk about as really having a chance to manage some day," Smith says. "I don't know if he's going to have that, but he has that ability and hopefully he'll get that opportunity at some point in time. Hopefully a lot later because we've got to use him to get ourselves back on track here."