Did you know that Mansfield, Georgia is known as “Newton County’s Front Porch”? It’s a gorgeous little spot nestled between Covington and Newborn and is home to the Beaver Manufacturing Company. It also contains a historic mural depicting one of baseball’s legendary heroes. Mansfield is the home of 'Sherry' Smith, AKA “Mansfield's Famous Southpaw”, who played 23 years as a pro baseball player.
Sherrod Malone “Sherry” Smith was born in nearby Monticello. Georgia in February of 1891. He quickly turned heads on the baseball diamond after he batted right-handed, yet pitched with his left. Smith played town ball in Mansfield, Madison, Elberton, and Newborn before turning pro in 1910. Smith was the hard-luck loser of one of the longest World Series games ever played. He pitched all the way into the 14th inning for the Brooklyn Robins, dueling with Boston's starting pitcher, Babe Ruth, in Game 2 of the 1916 World Series. The Red Sox would ultimately win it 2-1. It would be Smith’s only appearance in that Series. Afterwards, the Great Bambino himself claimed that Sherry “was the greatest pick-off artist who ever lived.”
All told, he would play on three major league teams, from 1911 until 1927. The Pittsburgh Pirates (1911–12), Brooklyn Robins (1915–17, 1919–1922) and Cleveland Indians (1922–1927) can all claim “Mansfield’s Famous Southpaw” as one of their most famous players. In a 14-season career, spanning over 23 years, Smith posted a 114–118 record with 428 strikeouts and a 3.32 earned run average in 2,052.2 innings pitched!
After his retirement from baseball, Sherrod Smith was the Chief of Police in Porterdale and Madison, Georgia. He would then pass in Reidsville, Georgia at the age of 58. Smith was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in February, 1980.
Go visit Mansfield and remember Sherrod Smith by visiting the town's historical marker and mural, located on the side of the old Air Power Building, next to the Mansfield Train Depot!
Artist Tamara Haase painting Sherrod Smith on the Historic Mansfield mural.
Photo by The Covington News