Paul Smith inducted into WNY Baseball Hall of Fameby jmaloni
Paul Smith of Wheatfield was inducted into the WNY Baseball Hall of Fame on Sept. 19 at the Lake Erie Italian Club's Banquet Hall.
A member of the Niagara-Wheatfield Class of 1968, during his varsity career at N-W, Smith pitched three career shutouts, three one-hitters and recorded the first no-hitter for Wheatfield since moving into the powerful Niagara Frontier League. In his senior year he set a single game record, as well as tying the NFL league record, for striking out 19 batters in a single game at that time.
Smith played two years of Triple AAABA under head coach Hank Nichols. He also played six years in the semi-pro Triple A Muny league where had a successful career.
During college, Smith attended Trinidad State Junior College where he was an all-conference player. He had record of 12-3, and one of those loses was a no-hitter against Merrymac St. Loius in the regional finals in Bacone, Okla. From there he received a scholarship to New Mexico Highlands University where he was a starting pitcher for two years.
After college, Smith had tryouts with Major League Baseball teams the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers.
In 1971, he coached the Wheatfield Post American Legion Baseball team to the state championship with an undefeated record of 25-0.
In 1975, Smith took on a new challenge and was named the head coach of the Niagara University baseball team. At the time, he was one of the youngest D-1 head coaches in the nation at 25 years old. That year's team ended with a record of 44-17: a school record that still stands today some 37 years later. In his two-years as head coach, the NU baseball team won more than 75 games and is considered to this day to be one of the greatest sports teams in the history of Niagara University.