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Lee Smith

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Lee Arthur Smith

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[edit] Biographical Information

Lee Smith was a top reliever. He is a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame, although time may be running out for him to be voted in.

Older photo of Smith.

He was signed as a 2nd round pick in the 1975 amateur draft by the Chicago Cubs and scout Buck O'Neil.

Smith was the all-time leader in saves until Trevor Hoffman broke his record in 2006; Jeff Reardon had held the record before Smith. Smith was remarkable for his consistency. In a role where ups-and-downs in performance are very common, Smith led the league in saves four times, was also second four times, was third once, fourth twice, and otherwise in the top 10 three other times. He was in the top 5 in the Cy Young Award voting three times, finishing # 2 in 1991.

Smith was the pitching coach for the South African team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He has been an instructor in both the MLB European Academy and MLB African Academy.

In Hall of Fame voting, 2008 was Smith's sixth year on the ballot and he received 43.3% of the vote, putting him in fifth place. In 2010, he got 47.3% of the vote, and in 2011, after teammate Andre Dawson called for his election in his induction speech, his total fell slightly, to 45.3%. He did make a decent gain in 2012, moving up to 50.6% thanks to a weak class of first-year candidates. However in 2013, when he should have gained more ground because of his clean reputation in comparison to members of the infamous "steroid class", he regressed to 47.8%, making it increasingly unlikely that he would be voted in by the BBWAA with only four years of eligibility remaining. He fell back even further in 2014, to 29.9%, the victim of a very strong ballot that saw almost all holdovers lose ground.

Smith continued to hold the record for the most games finished, with 802, even after being passed on the all-time saves list, but that record eventually fell to Hoffman as well, and Mariano Rivera also overtook him during the 2010 season.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 7-time All-Star (1983, 1987 & 1991-1995)
  • 4-time League Saves Leader (1983/NL, 1991/NL, 1992/NL & 1994/AL)
  • 4-time Reliever of the Year Award Winner (1983/NL, 1991/NL, 1992/NL & 1994/AL)
  • 3-time Rolaids Relief Award Winner (1991/NL, 1992/NL & 1994/AL)
  • 30 Saves Seasons: 10 (1984-1987 & 1990-1995)
  • 40 Saves Seasons: 3 (1991-1993)

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