It doesn’t look good for long-time Chicago Cubs closer Lee Smith, but one just never knows. Smith received only 43.3% of the vote in 2008 Hall of Fame voting by the baseball writers of America (one needs 75% of the vote in order to gain access to the Hall), but with the recent inductions of Bruce Sutter (in his 13th year on the ballot) and Goose Gossage (in his 9th year on the ballot), anything is possible.
Smith pitched in 1,022 games during his 18 MLB seasons. Smith saved 478 games – he was the all-time saves leader at the time of his retirement and has since been passed by active players Trevor Hoffman (554 saves) and Mariano Rivera (482 saves). Smith also holds the MLB record for most games finished – 802 games – which is 70 games more than Hoffman. It should also be noted that Smith has more saves than either of Goose Gossage (310 saves) or Bruce Sutter (300 saves). Smith pitched in a different era, and this has come back to hurt him in voting. When 30 saves was the key “saves mark”, Smith did it 10 times in his career. In 1984, only 6 closers reached the 30-saves mark. On average during the last 4 MLB seasons, 17 pitchers have reached that 30-saves mark.
2009 Hall of Fame inductees will be announced on Monday, January 12, 2009. Will the “Hawk” make it? Will Lee Smith make it? We’ll just have to wait and see.