Mike Schmidt Biography
Mike Schmidt is considered one of baseball's best offensive and defensive third basemen of all-time. He hit 548 home runs (14th all time), won 10 Gold Gloves and was a three-time MVP, and led the National League in home runs eight times. In 1995, Schmidt, who spent his entire major league career with the Philadelphia Phillies, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1949, Mike Schmidt attended Fairview High School in Dayton and Ohio University. The Phillies drafted him in the second round in 1971, one pick after the Royals selected George Brett. Sports Illustrated named Schmidt the No. 6 Ohio athlete of the 20th century.
Mike Schmidt had a rough start to his professional career. He was called up to the Phillies late in 1972, making his major league debut on Sept. 12. He finished that first season hitting .206 with one home run in 13 games. The next year, in 1973, Schmidt hit just .196 with 136 strikeouts in his first full season, playing 132 games.
But in 1974, Schmidt made the first of his 12 All Star teams. He led all of MLB in home runs (36) and led the National League in slugging percentage. In 1975 and '76, Schmidt led MLB in home runs (38 each season) and also won the first of his 10 Gold Gloves. In fact, he won a Gold Glove each season from 1976-84. On April 17, 1976, at Wrigley Field, Schmidt became just the 10th player in major league history to hit four home runs in a game -- the first player to accomplish the feat since Willie Mays.
In 1980, Schmidt won the first of his three NL MVP awards, leading the National League in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage and total bases. The Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals in six games in the 1980 World Series, the first title for both Schmidt and the franchise. Schmidt would win the NL MVP award in 1981, again leading the league in HR, RBI, slugging and on-base percentage.
In 1986, Schmidt won his eighth and final home run title. His eight home run titles are the most in National League history and second only to Babe Ruth's 12 all time. Excluding the 1978 season, Schmidt hit more than 30 home runs every year from 1974-87. On April 18, 1987, Schmidt hit career home run No. 500 in style. Trailing 6-5 with two outs in the top of the ninth inning at Three Rivers Stadium, Schmidt homered off Don Robinson to give the Phillies an 8-6 lead and the win.
In 1988, Schmidt suffered a tear in his rotator cuff and was placed on the disabled list in July, eventually ending his season without another appearance. He finished 1988 with 12 home runs and a .249 batting average. Schmidt returned in 1989 but hit just .203 in 42 games. He played his final game on May 28, 1989.
On May 30, Schmidt announced his retirement after 18 seasons. His 313 home runs in the 1980s were the most of any player in that decade. Schmidt was elected as the NL's starting third baseman in the 1989 All Star Game, but, because he had retired, he was not allowed to play. Asked if he should have been allowed to play, Schmidt said: "If I really wanted to play, I don't think they would have stopped me. But I declined playing from the beginning."
Schmidt had his number retired by the Phillies on May 26, 1990. In 1995, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 444 of a possible 460 votes in his first time on the ballot.
In 2002, he was named commissioner of the United States Professional Softball League, which aimed to field men's softball teams in a nationwide professional league. After the league postponed its opening two years, Schmidt left the project.
He served as the Phillies' hitting coach for a year, and, in October 2003, he was named manager of the Clearwater Threshers, a Class-A affiliate of the Phillies. He resigned after the 2004 season with a 55-81 record, calling the experience "a good way to complete my life in baseball."
He continued to help the Phillies as an occasional coach during the squad's spring training in Clearwater. In 2009, he served as the third base coach for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Mike Schmidt is married to wife Donna. The pair moved to Jupiter, Fla., after Schmidt retired from the Phillies. The couple has two children.