ST. LOUIS, OCT. 19 -- Meet Roy Smalley, the Minnesota Twin someone described as the white-collar ballplayer on a blue-collar team.

Or is it the white-collar ballplayer with blue-collar talent?

Choose the latter. "It wasn't somebody who said it, it was me," said Smalley, whose formal training in philosophy -- his major at the University of Southern California -- makes him unique on this Minnesota team.

Most likely, Smalley will not be a deciding factor in the Series, having only one at-bat thus far. Not counting pitchers, he was the only Twins player not to play against Detroit in the American League Championship Series.

But just being in the World Series is a kind of landmark for Roy Smalley III. His father is Roy Smalley Jr., who played 10 regular seasons with the Cubs, Phillies and Milwaukee Braves in the 1940s and '50s. His uncle is California Angels Manager Gene Mauch, whose inability to take a team to the World Series is legendary.

"I talked to my uncle two days after the season ended," Smalley said. "He called to congratulate me. You know, my uncle, in 35 years, and my father, in 10 years, never made a Series. I'm the first in the family in 60 years to make it. It's great."

The 36-year-old switch hitter showed he could still swing a bat Sunday, hitting an eighth-inning, pinch-hit double off St. Louis relieve ace Todd Worrell in Minnesota's 8-4 victory in Game 2.

"It was a wonderful experience," he said today as Minnesota practiced for Game 3. "I was ready to hit. I had been ready to hit for three innings, just in case. I was really anxious to get a hit in front of those people."

Smalley started the season as the Twins' left-handed designated hiter. In his first 67 games he hit .310 with five homers and 30 RBI. But Smalley slumped in July, and with the emergence of left-handed hitters Gene Larkin and Randy Bush, Smalley's playing time decreased. He played in only 43 games over the second half.

"It's tough, because of the way it happened," he said. "Had I gone the whole season being a role player, it would be easier to accept this. But I had a good first half, and then in the second half it just went crazy."

The reasons might have more to do with dollars than talent.

The Twins acquired Smalley -- and his $700,000 salary -- from the White Sox in February. Minnesota can keep Smalley, who had signed through 1990 with Chicago, or release him by next March. By releasing Smalley, the club would save the reported $300,000 they assumed of his Chicago salary, and the White Sox would be responsible for picking up the balance.

"There's no time to talk about that," he said. "We're trying to win this."

Smalley can be forgiven if he's a little impatient to win the Series. He was playing with the Twins when they were still being called Twinkies. From 1976 to 1982, he toiled with Minnesota at shortstop, helping the team lead the majors in double plays in 1977 (116) and leading American League shortstops with 504 assists and 792 total chances. In 1978, he was the Twins' MVP, and he went to the All-Star Game in 1979.

"It would be nice to be in {third baseman Gary} Gaetti's shoes, because I was there in the organization," he said. "It would {have been} nice to be in postseason play when I was there {the first time}. But that didn't happen."

Minnesota went nowhere, losing players such as Rod Carew, Larry Hisle and the late Lyman Bostock to free agency. The story goes that the Twins, desperate to get a player named to the all-star team, asked fans to stuff the ballot box for Smalley.

Smalley says that story is untrue. "It wasn't a question of needing a representative, it was a question that I was hitting .380 with 65 RBI {at the time}," he said. "There was a big surge. I'll never know if it was for real or if it was the commissioner's office. We didn't have enough attendance at those games. We couldn't have stuffed enough."

His memories of the Calvin Griffith years are not especially pleasant. "I don't think he handled the team well at all," Smalley said. "But Calvin did the best he could with what he had. One thing you can't refute is Calvin's ability to come up with talented players. But we have had talent in the past, and what {new owner Carl Pohlad} has done is gotten the {Juan} Berenguers, the {Jeff} Reardons, the {Al} Newmans, whatever the price."

Smalley has been asked often this week whether Minnesota, with its 85 regular season victories and limited starting rotation, deserves to be playing this late in the season.

"I can say something glib like the team with the fewest wins and the most dollars," he said. "We're not the worst team because we have the fewest wins. But we don't have to win 98 games, we have to win four."