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Ozzie Smith Fields 'Richest' Contract

April 16, 1985|REG AP

ST. LOUIS — All-Star shortstop Ozzie Smith became what his agent claimed was baseball's highest-paid player by signing a four-year contract extension through 1989 with the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.

"In terms of dollars and cents, it makes him the highest-paid player," said Ed Gottlieb, the infielder's agent. Gottlieb said the agreement will pay Smith more than $2 million a year.

"I think the highest contracts are (Philadelphia's Mike) Schmidt and (the New York Mets' George) Foster at $2 million," Gottlieb said. "Ozzie's contract for the four-year extension is in excess of $2 million."

Negotiations with Smith had begun in earnest last month, and at one time it appeared likely he would be traded.

"I'm happy and hopefully the organization is happy. It's a great day," Smith said. "At one time, it didn't look good. I have great memories here."

The 30-year-old Smith was acquired from the San Diego Padres before the 1982 season. He started at shortstop the following season when the Cardinals won the World Series in seven games over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Last year, he batted .257 with 44 RBIs and 35 stolen bases. He is a four-time All-Star. The 5-9, 150-pound switch-hitter had a .238 career batting average coming into the 1985 season.

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