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January 1, 2011

Cooperstown 2011: Lee Smith

Ninth Year on Ballot  (47.3%)

PLAYING CAREER: Chicago Cubs (1980–1987), Boston Red Sox (1988–1990), St. Louis Cardinals (1990–1993), New York Yankees (1993), Baltimore Orioles (1994), California Angels (1995–1996), Cincinnati Reds (1996) and Montreal Expos (1997)

ACHIEVEMENTS:  Ranks third all-time with 478 saves.  Career ERA of 3.03 in 1022 games with 1251 strikeouts.  All-time leader in saves and games finished at the time of his retirement.  13 consecutive seasons (1983-1995) with more than 20 saves, 10 seasons with 30 or more...and three seasons with 40 or more.  Led the league in saves four times (1983, 1991, 1992 and 1994).  Three-time Rolaids Relief Man of the Year (1991, 1992 and 1994).  All-time Chicago Cubs saves leader.  Holds National League record for most consecutive errorless games by a pitcher with 546.  Seven-time All-Star (1983, 1987 and 1991-1995).

@Toirtap:  If you can't vote for a DH because he "solely contributes offensively", how can you justify voting for Lee Smith and John Franco?

@dhockeyfeed:  Lee Smith: the most dominent closer of his era?

@hbryant42:  Five days to send in HOF ballot: Alomar and Blyleven...with two undecided (Larkin, Lee Smith)  

HOVG THOUGHTS:  I met the guy a while back and the man is intimidating. Smith seemed bigger than life standing next to me (I'm 6'4") and shaking his hand was like grabbing a tractor tire. I can only imagine what it was like having him throw something in your direction from sixty feet, six inches. Now, while that is not a reason to induct someone (if it was, Tim Stoddard would be enshrined), Smith’s 478 saves were pretty darn good. For 13 years, Smith was the all-time saves leader and up until recently, he held the record for most games finished. I mean, when a guy is getting his records broken by the likes or Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera he had to have been decent, right? Right?!?


Anonymous said...

"when a guy is getting his records broken by the likes or Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera he had to have been decent, right? Right?!?"

Not when the "record" is of an arbitrary, stupid statistic that has no merit.

Jesus Melendez said...

Saves are part of the game and for 13 seasons, Smith had the most ever.

Simply stated, under the rules of the game...478 times, Smith made sure that the team he played for held on to their victory.

Dismissing saves as "arbitrary" is about as asinine as the scores of hypothetical statistics that get thrown around nowadays. You know...the ones that take into account the "if" a team did something "then" a pitcher would have won, etc.

I look at it this way...either a guy does or doesn't. His team wins or loses. There are no "ifs" or "buts" in my book.