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Hall of Fame Poll : Lee Smith

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In the interests of finishing these polls before the next Hall of Fame ballot comes out, I'm going to skip a couple of pretty good players:

  • Tim Salmon: Played 14 seasons for the Angels. Hit 299 home runs, drove in 1016 and had a .282/.385/.498. Pretty nice slash line. He was Rookie of the Year in 1983. Halos Heaven has him at the top of their top 100 Angels list (and I think getting through a top 55 list is a tough thing). He was a really good player, not quite a Hall of Famer.
  • Ruben Sierra: Played for 20 years. Was a good player, never a great player. He hit 306 home runs, drove in 1322 RBI and a .268/.315/.450 line. He was an All-Star 3 times. He has an World Series ring. Made 4 All-Star teams. But really never was one of the 10 best players in baseball at any point in his career.

Lee Smith was one of the best closers of all-time. He has 478 saves, 3rd on the career list. No matter what you think of saves, that's a good number. And he was a closer back before the closer just pitched one inning. He would pitch 2 or 3 innings, at least early in his career, if it was needed.

He was an intimidating guy out on the mound. 6'5" and 220, maybe not as scary looking as Jon Rauch but a great pitcher. He played on 7 All-Star teams, won 3 reliever of the year awards and came in second in the 1991 Cy Young voting.

Right now there are only 5 relief pitchers in the Hall: Goose Gossage, Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter and Dennis Eckersley. Smith might not be quite as good as those 5 but he's close.