Astros in the Sky
Born: Jan 21, 1955
Picked up in the sixth round of the 1976 Summer Draft, pitcher Dave Smith made a complete conversion from starter to reliever upon his promotion to the major leagues in 1980. Although he completed 30 of his 80 minor-league starts, Smith started only one game in the majors and had perhaps the finest career of any relief pitcher in Houston.
Smith once held the all-time franchise records for games pitched (586) and saves (199). His 2.53 ERA with the team is second-best on the all-time charts. An All-Star in 1986 and 1990, Smith had his best year in 1987, saving 24 games and finishing with an astonishing 1.65 ERA in the year of the "Rabbit Ball."
He went into coaching but also struggled with substance abuse in later years. In 2008, he passed away from a heart attack at the relatively young age of 53 on December 17, 2008.