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Repoz
Editor - Baseball Primer

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Wisch: Cooperstown Shouldn’t Close Out Lee Smith

Outside of Hyapatia…I haven’t seen a Lee screwed this badly since “Three’s a Crowd” got cancelled and Lee Ving was out of a gig!

One could argue that their accomplishments have diminished the greatest line on Smith’s Hall of Fame resume, but that makes no sense to me. After all, if only current record holders were considered Hall-worthy, there would be a lot of Hall-worthy guys who should be bumped from Cooperstown.

What matters is that Smith was the saves leader when he retired. That was his legacy, and it still should be today. Beyond that, of the four relievers who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame already – Dennis Eckersley, Goose Gossage, Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter – each of them rank behind Smith on the saves list. Sutter, in fact, finished with only 300 saves, the same number as Jason Isringhausen for what’s now No. 25 on the all-time list.

Of course, Eckersley and Fingers both won MVP awards and Sutter a Cy Young award, while Smith never came closer than second in Cy Young voting (finishing runner-up to Tom Glavine in 1991). But a lack of hardware earned through a single season’s accomplishments shouldn’t diminish the record-setting dominance of Smith’s collective career.

Come 2016, Hoffman becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame. Smith’s eligibility runs out in 2017. I believe Smith should get in before Hoffman starts getting votes of his own, but Smith clearly has an enormous amount of ground to make up if he’s to earn induction.

However, it did take 13 years for Sutter to finally get his nod. So perhaps Smith will find a way to slip into the Hall of Fame during the ninth inning of his eligibility. After all, that would be fitting. Because how many men have closed stronger than Lee Smith?

What would be the real shame is if Cooperstown ends up closing him out completely.

Repoz Posted: July 25, 2014 at 04:35 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: chicago, hof

 

 

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