He began his major league career as an infielder, playing two and a half seasons at shortstop for the Boston Braves. Smith was a below-average hitter and fielder for that time, batting.240 with 2 home runs in 221 games in 1923 and 1924 combined. Partway through the 1925 season, Smith was converted into a pitcher.
He pitched the next dozen years in the majors until 1937 for the Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago Cubs.
During that time, he compiled over 100 major league wins, finishing with a career record of 106–139.