ST. LOUIS — Osborne Earl Smith was born on December 26, 1954 in Mobile, Alabama. The rest, as they say, is history.
Ozzie would go on to dazzle sports fans around the world for nearly two decades in Major League Baseball, with most of that time coming with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Sure, you know Ozzie is the greatest defensive shortstop of all time and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002, but how much do you really know about "The Wizard"?
For his 65th birthday, here are five fun facts about one of St. Louis' most celebrated sports heroes.
- Ozzie's "Go Crazy Folks" homer in 1985 was his first ever left-handed home run
The call is certainly etched into the minds of every Cardinals fan.
Ozzie's ninth inning home run in Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS against the Dodgers was unexpected to say the least.
Not only was Ozzie not known as a power threat (with only six home runs that season), the switch-hitter had never hit a left-handed home run in his Major League career.
Heck, even the TV broadcast had a graphic that popped up during his at-bat on just how unlikely a lefty homer from Ozzie was in that moment.
In the immortal words of manager Whitey Herzog, "He was due".
Ozzie's game-winning blast off Dodgers reliever Tom Niedenfuer sent the Cardinals to Los Angeles with a 3-2 lead in the series, that they would finish off in Game 6 (with Niedenfuer suffering another late defeat).
- Ozzie actually played the role of "The Wizard of Oz" at The Muny
This is probably my favorite bit of Ozzie Trivia.
Often called, "The Wizard of Oz" for his otherworldly defensive skills and unique name, Ozzie's nickname is one of the best in the history of sports.
But he wasn't just "The Wizard" on the diamond.
Ozzie actually played the role of his nickname in an actual production of "The Wizard of Oz" at the Muny!
Yep. Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion traveled down the yellow brick road to see the gold glover.
- As a kid, Ozzie practiced his fielding with a brown paper bag and a tennis ball
The greatest fielder in the history of baseball had some humble beginnings. But Ozzie just wanted to practice, however he could.
I'll let him tell the story.
"I had to play by myself a lot, and we didn't have a whole lot. But I'm not going to harp on that because it's not about what you have, it's about what you do with the opportunity when it presents itself," Ozzie said during a recent interview with 5 On Your Side. "And so enjoying the game as much as I did and realizing I had good hand-eye coordination... I had a brown paper bag, that I took with a tennis ball, and that was my imaginary glove. That's really how I learned how to play by myself. I used to throw the ball up against the wall and that's how I entertained myself."
- Ozzie lent his voice to the famous "Homer at the Bat" episode of "The Simpsons"
The 1991 episode of "The Simpsons" titled "Homer at the Bat" has become legendary in its own right.
In the episode, Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, Ken Griffey Jr., Darryl Strawberry, Mike Scioscia, Don Mattingly and Ozzie all have voice cameos and join Homer Simpson's softball team.
All of the pros (except Strawberry) fall victim to unusual predicaments throughout the episode, and end up not being able to play in the big game.
Ozzie actually disappears into the "Springfield Mystery Spot".
- Ozzie says he can still pick it at shortstop
Yep, the Wizard says he could still go out and hold his own for a couple of innings in a Major League game.
"It's like riding a bike. When you do what I did for as long as I did it, you never really lose that," Ozzie said in a recent interview with 5 On Your Side. "You lose range. You lose quickness and stuff. But the hands? Still got 'em."