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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Former closer Lee Smith recalls playing days at HOF ceremony

Does pre-booing Fenway two-arm bow for Smith.

“It’s been baffling the probably the last eight years,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of guys in the Hall of Fame who I had more votes than originally like Andre (Dawson), Bert Blyleven, guys like that and Bruce Sutter. Now I don’t really understand the voting. I’m not upset at the guys because it’s a tough thing to do.”

He was more puzzled than ever this year when no players from a star-studded ballot were elected. He doesn’t think steroid users should be kept out of the Hall.

“They talk about steroids with people like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro,” Smith said. “But those guys could hit, let’s face it. Steroids aren’t going to make you a good hitter and they could flat out hit. Barry Bonds was the best hitter I’ve ever seen.”

Repoz Posted: January 29, 2013 at 06:20 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof

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   1. John Northey Posted: January 29, 2013 at 07:20 AM (#4357170)
Nice to see an ex-player not trying to demonize the PED group for a change.

Understandable why he is confused by the voting - it would be frustrating to think you are a lock due to setting a record in a popular stat (saves) then seeing other relievers get in who didn't get anywhere near as many saves (Sutter, Gossage) Wonder if he got that Cy Young 1991 (forgot he came in 2nd to Tom Glavine that year) or 1992 (4th place) if he'd have made it since that seems to help a bit (4 of the 5 relievers in won it). Not that he should've won the Cy or should be in the HOF, just an interesting question. 4 times getting Cy Young votes, 4 times MVP votes (the 8 times getting votes were over 5 different seasons stretched from 1983 to 1994) yet few think of him as dominate like Gossage, Sutter, Fingers, Eckersley were...of course, he really wasn't that dominate just interesting to see how voters viewed him over the years.
   2. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4357376)
“They talk about steroids with people like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro,” Smith said. “But those guys could hit, let’s face it. Steroids aren’t going to make you a good hitter and they could flat out hit. Barry Bonds was the best hitter I’ve ever seen.”


I'm confused. He is supposed to be attacking the steroids guys as worse-than-baby-killer cheaters. Did he not get the memo?
   3. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 29, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4357380)
Steroids aren’t going to make you a good hitter


Will this testimony by a major league player count for anything? Or should we instead defer to Mike Lupica who, armed with his little league playing experience, disagrees?
   4. zonk Posted: January 29, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4357413)
Damn....

Now, it turns out I do have to find room for Smith on my ballot.
   5. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: January 29, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4357503)
There’s a lot of guys in the Hall of Fame who I had more votes than originally like Andre (Dawson), Bert Blyleven, guys like that and Bruce Sutter. Now I don’t really understand the voting. I’m not upset at the guys because it’s a tough thing to do.”


Not quite sure what he's saying here, but he never had more votes than Dawson or Sutter on the same ballot. he did have more than Blyleven his first 2 years.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: January 29, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4357726)
He means he debuted at a higher vote than those guys. Haven't checked it yet but it sounds right.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: January 29, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4357735)
Checking ...

Smith is odd in that he debuted at a very solid 42% and has made basically no progress in 10 votes. Dawson actually debuted at 45 but he might be thinking of Rice (debuted at 30). Gossage debuted at 33 and Sutter at 24 and of course Blyleven and Morris at low numbers too.

Nearly half the voters thought he was an HoFer the first time on the ballot ... and it's still about half. In contrast Rice, Blyleven and maybe Morris went from 2/3 or more not considering them an HoFer to 3/4 voting for them. That's gotta be kinda tough to watch.
   8. BDC Posted: January 29, 2013 at 06:00 PM (#4357746)
I'll remain agnostic on whether Smith actually belongs in the HOF. It seems to me mainly a matter of how many relief pitchers you want to have in a Hall of its current size. And perhaps that's why his vote has remained so "flat": either you think a higher number of relievers should be in, and therefore Smith is pretty obvious, or you're holding the line against more, and so he's not. Whatever your assessment of the value of his role, he was awfully good at it for a long time.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: January 29, 2013 at 09:13 PM (#4357853)
Pretty much my feelings too. I wouldn't have put in any relieve but Wilhelm. I'd have considered Eck for his total pitching perhaps -- good starter, great reliever, that's a lot of value.* But once Sutter and Gossage went in, well now the HoF accepts that sort of reliever and the HoF standard has changed for me. I still wouldn't vote Smith but it's awfully close -- I don't think he was substantially worse than Gossage, I think he's probably better than Sutter (enough career to make up the peak disadvantage), I'm still not sure what Fingers is doing there. He looks to me like he'd be pretty much middle of the pack among those guys. But the border has to be somewhere and it will always be pretty arbitrary as to who falls on which side of that border.

* This is farther than I went at the time. According to WAR, Eck the starter compiled 43 WAR which is a lot more than I'd have thought. It puts him at 59 for his career. I'm not a big fan of WAR for pitchers but that's enough to make me take a second look. Or it would be if he hadn't sailed into the HoF long ago.

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