Retired north Alabama coach gets inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Al Smith was inducted to the Alabama Baseball Coaches Associaton Hall of Fame Friday night in Montgomery. Not only did he have success on the stat sheets, but he was well respected in the community, too.

The process of becoming a Hall Of Fame inductee can take years sometimes, and Smith’s son Frank says this year was finally the year. Huntsville Hall of Famer Marc Mincher, a former coach and player, nominated Smith.

Smith says a spot in the Hall of Fame would have been some thing that made him so happy, but he says his dad was so humble, that you would never know.

“I didn’t know much about my dad’s career, he didn’t talk about it, I had to find out about it in articles,” Smith said.

Smith coached football, basketball, and baseball all throughout Madison County. He started the first football program at Madison Academy and then started the first baseball program at Grissom High School.

Although he was a pioneer for a lot of schools and their programs, he was best known for his time at Butler High School, where he was for over 15 years.

In 1989, Smith was diagnosed with cancer and would stop coaching in 1991. But his love for baseball never stopped.

Even in his last days, his son Frank says he still loved and “played” the game.

“Actually, he would play out baseball games in his mind, and he was there. I mean, you could just tell. I was talking to him and I knew he was in pain, but they were giving him something to help him with the pain. We would actually start with the line up and go through the whole game, he would see people hitting the ball. In his last day he was still coaching, I mean he loved what he did.”

Smith said his dad left a legacy of love; he loved baseball and everyone. He was known for his personality and how he took his time with everyone. He says he was always there to listen, teach, and guide not just his players, but everyone.

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