The Barling Darling: Hal Smith in American Baseball

The Barling Darling: Hal Smith in American Baseball

by Billy D. Higgins


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The St. Louis Cardinals were contenders in 1957 and ’59, two of Hal Smith’s best years as a Major League player. Smith, out of tiny Barling, Arkansas, had risen in the Minor Leagues, and even played in Mexico, Cuba, and the Asian circuit. Readers will be intrigued to learn key roles Smith played as baseball went through profound changes in the late 1950s. At the time, Smith was helping Bob Gibson grow into an All Star pitcher and Tim McCarver to become one of the great catchers. Smith, himself, played in the 1959 All Star Game—one of only two Cardinals to do so that year. The “Barling Darling” had a certain magic working for him, a quality readers will discover within the pages of this book. They will also observe the parallels between baseball’s maturation during the 1950s and those of American society at the time. Higgins has crafted the story of a man who not only stood out in his time but also reflected its best hopes, its dynamic evolution in the postwar era, as well as the expansion of “America’s game” onto the national stage, propelled in part by the medium of the day, television.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935106098
Publisher: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Publication date: 05/09/2009
Edition description: New
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Billy D. Higgins is professor of history at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and a member of the Society of American Baseball Researchers. His previous book, A Stranger and a Sojourner: Peter J. Caulder, Free Black Frontiersman in Antebellum Arkansas (University of Arkansas Press), won the Ragsdale Award for excellence in historical writing about Arkansas.

Table of Contents

The Desire|P13


Vinegar Bend|P32

Niagara Falls Honeymoon|P39



A Rookie in St. Louis|P64


Fighting for the NL Pennant|P91

Celebrity in St. Louis|P111

Solly Takes the Team . . . to Japan!|P119


The 1959 Season|P143

Those Changes!|P171


His Heart|P187


A Return to the Big Leagues|P198

Cardinal Scout|P205





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