Smith's stagnant Hall support
January, 6, 2009
As Fred Mitchell writes, Lee Smith can't figure out why he's not getting more love from Hall of Fame voters:
"They're holding out on me," Smith said from his home in Castor, La. "I have, like, 200 more saves than two or three guys who are in there. Dennis Eckersley (390 saves, 197 wins) is the only Hall of Famer who has a better save opportunity than I do (84 to Smith's 82). I don't understand, man.
"And Eck had unbelievable numbers as a starter," Smith added, referring to Eckersley becoming the first pitcher with 20-win and 50-save seasons. "The man has 100 complete games. I have no problem with him. But Goose and Sutter
they were on the ballot for a long time."
Gossage (310 saves) and Sutter (300) have campaigned publicly for the inclusion of Smith. The late Hoyt Wilhelm had 227 saves, and he's in the Hall of Fame. Hoffman now has 554 and Mariano Rivera is second with 482.
"When I retired, nobody seemed to know I was the all-time saves leader for almost 15 years," Smith said. "Until Trevor Hoffman broke my record, half the people thought Eckersley was the all-time leader."