Mired in a slump, Reggie Smith got into the right frame of mind and snapped out of his funk, hitting three home runs, including the winning shot, for the Cardinals in a game against the Phillies.
Following the lead of teammate Ted Simmons, Smith practiced transcendental meditation for inner peace and wellness before the Cardinals played on May 22, 1976, at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.
“I had good meditation today,” Smith told The Sporting News.
Both sides now
Smith entered the Saturday night game with a .168 batting average and three home runs for the season.
He connected with home runs in each of his last three at-bats.
A switch-hitter, Smith hit two of the home runs right-handed and one left-handed. It was the sixth time Smith hit a home run from each side of the plate in a game.
It also was the only time in his 17 years in the big leagues that Smith hit three home runs in a game. All three occurred with two outs.
Smith, 31, became the first Cardinals batter to hit three home runs in a game since Stan Musial, 41, did so on July 8, 1962, vs. the Mets.
“I’m sorry it took me so long to start hitting,” Smith said to the Bucks County (Pa.) Courier Times. “I haven’t been doing much to help the club.”
Smith, who had been moved from right field to first base to third base during the season, was approached before the game by manager Red Schoendienst, who may have helped put him in a proper state of mind.
“I called Reggie into my office and asked him if he was relaxed enough when he was being shifted from position to position,” Schoendienst said. “He told me that, if I had enough confidence in him, he’d play anywhere anytime. I told Reggie that we needed his power in the lineup.”
In the fifth inning, with the Phillies ahead, 2-1, Smith, batting from the right side, hit a three-run home run to left off starter Jim Kaat, giving the Cardinals a 4-2 lead.
With the Phillies ahead, 6-5, in the seventh, Smith, batting from the left side, hit a solo shot to right off Ron Reed.
In the ninth, with the bases empty and the score tied at 6-6, Smith, batting right-handed, hit a home run to center off Tug McGraw, putting the Cardinals ahead.
“The ball I hit in the ninth off McGraw was a fastball that I think he tried to turn over and it didn’t do what he wanted it to do,” Smith said.
The Phillies nearly rallied in the bottom of the ninth. They had runners on first and second with two outs when Garry Maddox, facing Al Hrabosky, ripped a line drive that appeared headed for extra bases before shortstop Don Kessinger made a diving catch, ending the game and preserving the 7-6 Cardinals triumph. Boxscore
Four weeks later, on June 15, 1976, with his batting average at .218 and his home run total at eight, the Cardinals traded Smith to the Dodgers for catcher Joe Ferguson, outfielder Bob Detherage and minor-league first baseman Freddie Tisdale.