The father of former USC star first baseman Justin Smoak died Tuesday. Kevin Smoak, who was suffering from lung cancer, was 54.
Smoak, a Goose Creek native, was placed on the bereavement list by his team, the Seattle Mariners.Seattle manager Eric Wedge said the team will give Smoak all the time he needs. He is Seattle's leading hitter at .291 with a pair of homers and five doubles.
Smoak was able to bring his father to Carolina Stadium for a game of catch and a round of batting practice before heading for spring training in Arizona. USC coach Ray Tanner had a Gamecocks jersey made for Keith with “K. Smoak” and Justin’s No. 12 on the back.
Keith Smoak appreciated being able to spend time with his family at USC's new park.
“It was probably the best day of my life because I had my family there with me,” he said last month.
Keith Smoak was his son's first coach.
“He basically taught me everything I know about baseball and hitting and anything else,” Justin Smoak said.