Ira “Dude” Smith - Player
Inducted in 2005
Ira "Dude" Smith (Player) - He was an outstanding infielder who went on to excel at the college level playing for the University of Maryland Hawks Baseball team. Dude was the first player to win two NCAA batting titles as well as the first to win the award in consecutive seasons. In 1989, he finished the season with a .488 batting average winning the Most Valuable Player Award. In 1990, Dude repeated the feat by batting .519, ranking the sixth all-time highest Division 1 batting average and again earning the team Most Valuable Player Award. His career batting average of .431 ranks as the 14th highest in Division 1 history. He also was selected to the MEAC All Conference Team All Star in 1989 and 1990.
Dude was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1990 Major League Baseball Draft in the 37th round. During the 14 years playing Minor league and Independent league baseball, he had a career batting average of .292. Dude did not appear in any games for a Major League Baseball team despite several seasons in Triple-A. However, it was reported in 1997 that the Detroit Tigers were grooming Smith to eventually become a coach or manager due to his relationship with Randy Smith, former General Manager of the San Diego Padres and then GM of the Tigers.
In 2004, Dude was elected to the UMES Athletics Hall of Fame and in 2010 he was elected to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame. The NCAA announced in 2011 that Smith would be added to the ballot for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.
Dude served as a bench coach for the Lincoln Saltdogs in 2004 and as the teams hitting coach in 2005.[ In 2006, Smith left the Saltdogs and took a position as the hitting coach of the Joliet Jackhammers.