Did you know that former major league outfielder Smead Jolley worked for the City of Alameda after his playing days were over?
“Smudge” who played for the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox from 1930 to 1933* was with the Alameda Housing Authority Maintenance Department until his retirement in 1970. Few island citizens even know that there is an Alameda connection for the late Pacific Coast League star.
Despite good power numbers and a .305 lifetime batting average in the Big Show, Jolley’s major league career was short-lived because of his terrible defense. Had he lived in the Canseco era, Smead would have enjoyed a longer stint in the American League as a DH. Legend has it that his hands of stone once enabled him to entertain the fans with three errors on one play! Overall, the slow-footed Jolley commited 44 errors in four seasons while patrolling the outfields at Fenway and Comiskey for a lifetime fielding percentage of .946. (NOTE: He did play 5 games at catcher without incident) Hopefully Smead could wield his maintenance tools more effectively than a glove.
On the offensive side of his game there are some terrific accomplishments. Along with an excellent batting average, Smead contributed 46 HRS and 313 RBIs in only 473 games in the Majors. By today’s standards those numbers would have inked Jolley a nice $3 million annual contract to sit, hit, and let someone else shag flyballs. He was also a legendary player in the Pacific Coast League, winning batting titles in 1927,1928, 1938 and the PCL Triple Crown in 1928 (.404/45/188) while starring for the San Francisco Seals.
Smead Powell Jolley died in Alameda on November 17, 1991.
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* Jolley was traded to the St. Louis Browns in December 1933 but was then shipped to to the Hollywood Stars of the PCL before playing a game in a Browns uniform.