Chalk up another Boston Red Sox legend who found his way into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Legend might not be the right term when referring to his Red Sox career, but Lee Smith was one heck of a ballplayer overall--and he got selected to the Hall of Fame by the Today's Game Era Committee, who met at the winter meetings. In order to be elected, players needed 12 votes (75 percent) from the 16-member panel. Smith received 16 votes, Harold Baines received 12 votes and Lou Pinella came up just short with 11 votes.
Say what you will about Baines going into the Hall of Fame, but Smith is honestly a pretty good choice. There used to be a vendetta against closers going in the Hall of Fame solely based on the big saves thing, but one has to admit: if Trevor Hoffman got in and Mariano Rivera is a first ballot Hall of Famer, then why can't the guy who held the saves record longer than both of them make the cut?
After all, Smith recorded 478 saves over the course of his big league career and finished it with a respectable 3.03 ERA over 18 seasons.
And in case you were wondering why this is being written about, it's because he played for the Red Sox from 1988 to 1990; he recorded 59 saves in that time frame (since he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals very early into the 1990 season).
So yeah, pretty good to see a Red Sox player get the nod in Cooperstown. Now the question should be: which Red Sox player gets in next? It could be Curt Schilling. It could be David Ortiz. But we will have to wait and find out--and hopefully the suspense does not kill anyone. That would be very bad.