Cooperstown Choices: Lee Smith

With the Hall Of Fame election announcement coming on January 9, 2012, it is time to review the ballot, go over the names, and decide who belongs in the Hall Of Fame.

There are twenty seven men on the ballot this year and we will take a look at each one individually prior to official announcements. You can find all of the profiles in the I-70 Baseball Exclusives: Cooperstown Choices 2012 menu at the top of the page.

Tune in Saturday, January 7, 2012 as I-70 Baseball Radio will host a panel of writers discussing the Hall Of Fame Ballot in a 2-hour special.

In this article, we take a look at Lee Smith

Lee Smith
The tall closer spent 18 seasons in Major League Baseball with eight different teams. He debuted in 1980 with the Chicago Cubs and played his final Major League game in 1997 with the Montreal Expos. This is his ninth year on the ballot.

Year Tm W L ERA G SV IP H R ER SO ERA+ WHIP SO/9 SO/BB
1980 CHC 2 0 2.91 18 0 21.2 21 9 7 17 138 1.615 7.1 1.21
1981 CHC 3 6 3.51 40 1 66.2 57 31 26 50 106 1.320 6.8 1.61
1982 CHC 2 5 2.69 72 17 117.0 105 38 35 99 139 1.214 7.6 2.68
1983 CHC 4 10 1.65 66 29 103.1 70 23 19 91 229 1.074 7.9 2.22
1984 CHC 9 7 3.65 69 33 101.0 98 42 41 86 107 1.317 7.7 2.46
1985 CHC 7 4 3.04 65 33 97.2 87 35 33 112 131 1.218 10.3 3.50
1986 CHC 9 9 3.09 66 31 90.1 69 32 31 93 131 1.229 9.3 2.21
1987 CHC 4 10 3.12 62 36 83.2 84 30 29 96 137 1.386 10.3 3.00
1988 BOS 4 5 2.80 64 29 83.2 72 34 26 96 148 1.303 10.3 2.59
1989 BOS 6 1 3.57 64 25 70.2 53 30 28 96 116 1.217 12.2 2.91
1990 TOT 5 5 2.06 64 31 83.0 71 24 19 87 189 1.205 9.4 3.00
1990 BOS 2 1 1.88 11 4 14.1 13 4 3 17 224 1.535 10.7 1.89
1990 STL 3 4 2.10 53 27 68.2 58 20 16 70 182 1.136 9.2 3.50
1991 STL 6 3 2.34 67 47 73.0 70 19 19 67 158 1.137 8.3 5.15
1992 STL 4 9 3.12 70 43 75.0 62 28 26 60 110 1.173 7.2 2.31
1993 TOT 2 4 3.88 63 46 58.0 53 25 25 60 104 1.155 9.3 4.29
1993 STL 2 4 4.50 55 43 50.0 49 25 25 49 89 1.160 8.8 5.44
1993 NYY 0 0 0.00 8 3 8.0 4 0 0 11 1.125 12.4 2.20
1994 BAL 1 4 3.29 41 33 38.1 34 16 14 42 153 1.174 9.9 3.82
1995 CAL 0 5 3.47 52 37 49.1 42 19 19 43 136 1.358 7.8 1.72
1996 TOT 3 4 3.74 54 2 55.1 57 24 23 41 119 1.500 6.7 1.58
1996 CAL 0 0 2.45 11 0 11.0 8 4 3 6 205 1.000 4.9 2.00
1996 CIN 3 4 4.06 43 2 44.1 49 20 20 35 106 1.624 7.1 1.52
1997 MON 0 1 5.82 25 5 21.2 28 16 14 15 73 1.662 6.2 1.88
18 Seasons 71 92 3.03 1022 478 1289.1 1133 475 434 1251 132 1.256 8.7 2.57
162 Game Avg. 5 6 3.03 68 32 85 75 31 29 83 132 1.256 8.7 2.57
W L ERA G SV IP H R ER SO ERA+ WHIP SO/9 SO/BB
CHC (8 yrs) 40 51 2.92 458 180 681.1 591 240 221 644 134 1.255 8.5 2.44
STL (4 yrs) 15 20 2.90 245 160 266.2 239 92 86 246 128 1.151 8.3 3.62
BOS (3 yrs) 12 7 3.04 139 58 168.2 138 68 57 209 137 1.287 11.2 2.65
CAL (2 yrs) 0 5 3.28 63 37 60.1 50 23 22 49 145 1.293 7.3 1.75
MON (1 yr) 0 1 5.82 25 5 21.2 28 16 14 15 73 1.662 6.2 1.88
CIN (1 yr) 3 4 4.06 43 2 44.1 49 20 20 35 106 1.624 7.1 1.52
NYY (1 yr) 0 0 0.00 8 3 8.0 4 0 0 11 1.125 12.4 2.20
BAL (1 yr) 1 4 3.29 41 33 38.1 34 16 14 42 153 1.174 9.9 3.82
NL (14 yrs) 58 76 3.03 771 347 1014.0 907 368 341 940 128 1.252 8.3 2.59
AL (7 yrs) 13 16 3.04 251 131 275.1 226 107 93 311 145 1.268 10.2 2.53
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2011.

Why He Should Get In
Lee Smith was one of the first dominant closers in Major League Baseball. He was one of the first pitchers to spend his entire career closing out ball games and led the league four different times in saves. He would make seven All Star appearances and finished in the top ten of the Cy Young voting four times. He saved 478 games in his career and averaged almost a strikeout per inning over his 18 years.

Why He Should Not Get In
Writers are still new to the idea of closers being worthy of Hall Of Fame recognition. As they warm to the idea, however, there is very little reason to exclude Lee Smith.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
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One Response to “Cooperstown Choices: Lee Smith”

  1. hoss says:

    its a joke no reason he shouldnt be inducted already!!! he was the all time saves leader briefly but still that along should be induction-worthy.

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