2012 Greater Cincinnati Softball Hall Of Fame Profiles: Loyd Grey Smith Was A Member Of Five Sports Halls Of Fame
Just like that of the first two senior softball players to be inducted into the Norwood Sorrento’s Greater Cincinnati Softball Hall of Fame, Dick Ernst (2009) and Ron Garnett (2010), Loyd Grey Smith’s softball career didn’t really blossom until most players his age had long since retired.
Smith, who passed away last June just five days after his 81st birthday, starred in Industrial softball from 1952 until 1960, then Church play from 1955 until 1995. Then in 1988 at the age of 58, he launched a new career in the senior program that would lead to his admission into two softball halls of fame.
In the Industrial program, Smith pitched National Lead Company to both an ASA Industrial and Open City Championship in 1960, and was named 1st team All-City in both divisions. National Lead finished 7th out of 26 teams that year in the World Industrial Tournament in Louisville, Ky. Later, in 1968, Smith pitched National Lead to a third place finish in the Ohio State Industrial Tournament and was named to the All-State team.
In the Church program, Smith once recorded a 34-game winning streak with Bright Christian Church (1955-1962), and he won 71 out of 75 games over eight seasons. In 1978 he founded the National Christian Slow Pitch Tournament for Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, and served as director of the event until 2001. Hosted by Bright Christian Church, the National Christian Tournament is still held today in Greater Cincinnati over Labor Day Weekend. The tournament peaked in 1989 with 89 teams.
Smith pitched Bright to three consecutive runner-up finishes in that event from 1979 through 1981. He also pitched Bright to three Metro Championships (1986, 1988 and 1995), and to a 3rd place finish in the Indiana State Church Tournament in 1987.
Then at the age of 57, Smith’s skills as an organizer, pitcher and power hitter took a new direction, when he put together the Masters Twelve Senior softball team in 1988. That year Masters Twelve became the first team from Greater Cincinnati to compete in an ASA Senior National Championship, finishing second in the 55-Over division. The following year they took care of unfinished business, capturing the title. Smith went on to notch a second ASA 55-Over title a year later with Cane Run Stables, then netted a fourth crown with Tri-State Masters in the 60-Over division in 1994. Smith’s teams also won senior national championships in NSA in 1990 and ’91 with Cane Run (50-over), and in 1996 captured a Senior World Series title.
In all, Smith has participated in seventeen senior national or world championships. He has been named to eight All-American or All-World teams and compiled a 78-22 pitching record in senior play. During his overall career, his pitching record is approximately 1000-500. He has been named to over 30 all-tournament teams, and won over 40 home run titles. A feared power hitter, Smith has clubbed over 1,000 home runs while compiling an estimated .685 lifetime batting average. Smith has won over 100 tournament and league championships, including four Metro crowns, one state title, and six world or national titles. He was inducted into the Senior Softball Hall of Fame in 1997. And now, next Sunday, January 29th, he’ll enter the Norwood Sorrento’s Greater Cincinnati Softball Hall of Fame during a banquet ceremony at the Radisson Hotel Cincinnati Riverfront in Covington.
Amazingly, points out Smith’s son, Eron, who has been part of seven ASA Metro championship teams, Loyd Smith “never missed a game due to illness or injury.”
Perhaps even more amazing, says Eron, his father never missed church on Sunday to play in any of the 2000 games he participated in during his fifty-year career.
“He was a Christian man who put Christ before all others,” says Smith. “Those who knew him closely knew this first. He was baptized at age 14, became a deacon at Bright Christian Church at the age of 26, and an Elder two years later at 28 – a position he held for fifty years.”
Loyd Smith also excelled as a college basketball player and javelin thrower at Franklin College in Indiana. Smith set Franklin’s single game scoring record with 36 points in 1951. His javelin throw of 209’, 11” set a Franklin record that stood for 24 years. Smith was one of the top six throwers in the country, winning 34 of his 37 meets. He was inducted into the Frank College Hall of Fame in 1975. In all, Smith has been elected to five halls of fame.
Eron Smith also remembers his father as a family man who knew no enemies.
“Along with his wife, Adele, he raised seven children in a small, two-bedroom, one-bath ranch home. He was a friend to all who met him and was probably the most respected man that most people ever came in contact with,” says Smith.
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