Lee Smith is number 3 on the all time saves list, which is his strongest argument for the Hall. And he was a closer in the old sense of the word, he'd close out games pitching 2 or 3 innings, if needed.
He was an intimidating guy out on the mound. 6'5" and 220, maybe not as scary looking as Jon Rauch but then he was a pretty good 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.
Smith played for 8 different teams, including a season with the Expos, to finish out his career.
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.
This is his 14th time on the ballot and second last. Last year he was on 30.2%% of the ballots.He has been running in the mid 40's until the last couple of years.
It is kind of interesting that we have the number 2 and 3 pitchers on the career saves list on the ballot this year. Of course, the number 2 guy has 601 saves (Hoffman) and the number 3 guy has 478 (Smith). But Smith threw 200 more innings. And about 120 more strikeouts. The two have ERA's that are very close, Hoffman 2.87, Smith 3.03.