Former Cardinals closer Lee Smith elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

LAS VEGAS – Lee Smith and Harold Baines have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Today’s Game Era Committee, it was announced Sunday.

Smith was named on all 16 ballots while Baines was named on 12 of 16 ballots (75 percent), with both reaching the 75-percent threshold necessary for election. The Today’s Game Era Committee considered a ballot of six former players, three former managers and one former executive whose contributions to the game were most significant from 1988 through the present. The Today’s Game Era Committee held meetings today in Las Vegas, site of Baseball’s Winter Meetings. Both Baines and Smith are living.

Smith and Baines will be joined in the Hall of Fame Class of 2019 by any electees who emerge from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voting, which will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Smith pitched for 18 seasons with the Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, Yankees, Orioles, Angels, Reds and Expos. His 478 saves were the top mark in baseball from 1993 into the 2006 season and still rank third on the all-time list behind Mariano Rivera’s 652 and Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman’s 601. A seven-time All-Star who finished in the Top 5 of his league’s Cy Young Award voting three times, Smith led his league in saves four times and topped the 30-save mark in 10 seasons.

Baines played for 22 seasons for the White Sox, Rangers, Athletics, Orioles and Indians, recording 2,866 hits, 384 home runs and 1,628 RBI. A six-time All-Star, Baines won the American League top designated hitter award, now called the Edgar Martinez Award, in both 1987 and 1988. He played 1,643 of his 2,830 games as a DH, with 1,042 of his games in right field. In six Postseason series, Baines hit .324 with five homers and 16 RBI in 31 games.

Smith and Baines will be available to the media at a press conference at 3 p.m. PT Monday at Baseball’s Winter Meetings at the South Pacific ballroom at the Mandalay Bay Resort. All credentialed media at the Winter Meetings are invited to attend.

The 16-member Today’s Game Era Committee commissioned with the review of the 10-name ballot was comprised of Hall of Fame members Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, Pat Gillick, Tony La Russa, Greg Maddux, Joe Morgan, John Schuerholz, Ozzie Smith and Joe Torre; major league executives Al Avila, Paul Beeston, Andy MacPhail and Jerry Reinsdorf; and veteran media members/historians Steve Hirdt, Tim Kurkjian and Claire Smith. Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark served as the non-voting chairman of the Today’s Baseball Era Committee.

Results of the Today’s Game Era Ballot (12 votes needed for election): Lee Smith (16 votes, 100%); Harold Baines (12 votes, 75 percent); Lou Piniella (11 votes, 68.8%); Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel and George Steinbrenner each received fewer than five votes.

The Today’s Game Era Committee will next consider candidates in 2021 for the 2022 Induction year, as the process to consider candidates occurs two times in a five-year period. In the fall of 2019, the Modern Baseball Era Committee will consider candidates whose main career contributions came from 1970 through 1987. In 2020, the Golden Days Era Committee will consider candidates whose main career contributions occurred from 1950-69. And also in 2020, the Early Days Era Committee will consider candidates whose greatest contributions came from baseball’s origins through 1949. Committees will continue to meet at the Winter Meetings.

The Modern Baseball Era ballot was determined this fall by the Historical Overview Committee, comprised of 11 veteran historians: Bob Elliott (Canadian Baseball Network); Jim Henneman (formerly Baltimore Sun); Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); Steve Hirdt (Elias Sports Bureau); Bill Madden (formerly New York Daily News); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA); Jim Reeves (formerly Fort Worth Star-Telegram); Tracy Ringolsby (Baseball America); Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle); Dave van Dyck (formerly Chicago Tribune); and Mark Whicker (Los Angeles News Group).

Hall of Fame Weekend 2019 will be held July 19-22 in Cooperstown, N.Y., with the Induction Ceremony slated for Sunday, July 21, 2019. The BBWAA election results will be announced at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 22, on MLB Network.

Also this week at the Winter Meetings, two Hall of Fame award winners will be announced, with the BBWAA selecting its annual J.G. Taylor Spink Award on Tuesday, Dec. 11, for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. On Wednesday, Dec. 12, the Museum will announce the 2019 Ford C. Frick Award winner, given for excellence in baseball broadcasting.

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

About stlsportspage 294 Articles
For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.

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