LINCOLN, NE – The American Association of Professional Baseball releases its 2024 Hall of Fame Class Thursday, the Saltdogs represented by David Espinosa and Curt Smith.

“We would like to congratulate Curt and David for being inducted into the American Association Hall of Fame.  These two players were very instrumental on the field during their careers in Lincoln and are the first two Saltdogs to be inducted.  Curt was the face of the organization for eight seasons and had a tremendous impact on the Lincoln baseball community,” said Saltdogs President Charlie Meyer.

Espinosa is inducted after spending many years in the American Association between a handful of teams, Lincoln, Kansas City, Wichita, and St. Paul.

He played 168 games for the Lincoln Saltdogs over his career and spent the entire 2013 season in Lincoln.  In that year he posted a .297 batting average to go along with 12 home runs and 50 runs driven in.  In his first stint with the ‘Dogs, he batted .313 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in just 68 games coming in 2012.

Smith also got the induction to make the Hall of Fame in the league’s third-ever class.  Smith was a long-tenured Saltdog, staying in Lincoln for eight seasons, 2011, 2013, 2015-2021, with no season in 2020.

He started his professional career in 2008 with the St. Louis Cardinals organization until he was let go in 2010, that is where he found the Saltdogs for the first time.  He played 78 games in his first full season with Lincoln.

His second stint in 2013 was half of the season as he only played in 49 games.  He finally found the Star City for good in 2015 and finished off his legendary career with the Saltdogs.

Smith’s best season came in 2016 when he had a career-high in batting average of .331 hitting 17 homers and driving in 60 runs.  He also posted a career-high.951 OPS during that season.

Smith is a native of Curacao and represented Team Netherlands at the World Baseball Classics in 2009, 2013 & 2017 and was an All-Star multiple times in the American Association.

Espinosa and Smith are the first two Saltdogs to be inducted into the American Association Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame luncheon and induction ceremony will take place in Kansas City, Missouri on July 23rd at the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center – the historic building where Andrew “Rube” Foster established the Negro Leagues in 1920.