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 Mobile, Alabama

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Registration date : 2010-10-10

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PostSubject: Mobile, Alabama   Mobile, Alabama EmptySat Nov 20, 2010 11:36 am

Smith was born in Mobile, Alabama, the second of Clovis and Marvella Smith's six children (five boys and one girl).[1] While the family lived in Mobile, his father worked as a sandblaster at Brookley Air Force Base.[2] When Smith was six his family moved to the Watts section of Los Angeles, California.[2] His father became a delivery truck driver for Safeway stores, while his mother became an aide at a nursing home.[3] His mother was an influential part of his life who stressed the importance of education and encouraged him to pursue his dreams.[4][5]
Smith played a variety of sports in his youth, but considered baseball to be his favorite.[6] He developed quick reflexes through various athletic and leisure activity, such as bouncing a ball off the concrete steps in front of his house, moving in closer to reduce reaction time with each throw.[7] When not at the local YMCA or playing sports, Smith sometimes went with friends to the neighborhood lumberyard, springboarding off inner tubes and doing flips into sawdust piles (a precursor to his famous backflips).[8] In 1965, at age ten, he endured the Watts Riots with his family, recalling that, "We had to sleep on the floor because of all the sniping and looting going on."[9]
While Smith was attending junior high school, his parents decided to divorce.[3] Continuing to pursue his interest in baseball, he would ride the bus for nearly an hour to reach Dodger Stadium, cheering for the Los Angeles Dodgers at about 25 games a year.[3] Upon becoming a student at Locke High School, Smith played on the basketball and baseball teams.[3] Smith was a teammate of future National Basketball Association player Marques Johnson on the basketball team, and a teammate of future fellow Hall-of-Fame player Eddie Murray on the baseball side.[10] After high school Smith attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1974 on a partial academic scholarship, and managed to walk-on to the baseball team.[11] In addition to his academic education, he learned to switch-hit from Cal Poly coach Berdy Harr.[12] When Cal Poly's starting shortstop broke his leg midway through the 1974 season, Smith subsequently took over the starting role.[5] Later named an All-American athlete, he established school records in career at bats (754) and career stolen bases (110) before graduating in 1977.[11][13]

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