Lee Smith (baseball)
Lee Arthur Smith (born December 4, 1957) is an American former professional baseball pitcher who played 18 years in Major League Baseball (MLB) for eight teams. Serving mostly as a relief pitcher during his career, he was a dominant closer and held the major league record for career saves from 1993 until 2006, when Trevor Hoffman passed his total of 478. Smith was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2019 by the Today's Game Era Committee.
|Born: December 4, 1957|
|September 1, 1980, for the Chicago Cubs|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 2, 1997, for the Montreal Expos|
|Earned run average||3.03|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Election method||Today's Game Committee|
A native of Jamestown in Bienville Parish in north Louisiana, Smith was scouted by Buck O'Neil and was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 1975 MLB draft. Smith was an intimidating figure on the pitcher's mound at 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) and 265 pounds (120 kg) with a 95-mile-per-hour (150 km/h) fastball. In 1991, he set a National League (NL) record with 47 saves for the St. Louis Cardinals, and was runner-up for the league's Cy Young Award; it was the second of three times Smith led the NL in saves, and he later led the American League (AL) in saves once. At the time he retired, he held the major league record for career games finished (802) and was third in games pitched (1,022). He still holds the Cubs' team record for career saves (180), and held the same record for the Cardinals (160) until 2006.
After his playing career, Smith spent time working as a pitching instructor in Minor League Baseball for the San Francisco Giants. He served as the pitching coach for the South Africa national baseball team in the World Baseball Classics of 2006 and 2009.
Smith attended high school in Castor, Louisiana, where his favorite sport was basketball; he did not play on the baseball team until he was a junior. Negro leagues veteran Buck O'Neil is credited with having scouted him. At age 17, Smith was selected in the second round of the 1975 MLB draft by the Chicago Cubs with the 28th overall pick. The Cubs, via O'Neil, were able to get Smith under contract for a $50,000 signing bonus plus $8,000 for his education.
Smith began his professional career as a starting pitcher, first playing in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 1975. He played in Class A in 1976 and 1977, then in Double-A during 1978 and 1979. In 1978, Smith struggled with the Midland Cubs of the Texas League, walking 128 batters in 155 innings pitched. When the team moved him to the bullpen, Smith felt he was being demoted and nearly quit the team; a talk from former Cubs outfielder Billy Williams convinced him to stay. Smith returned to Midland in 1979, lowering his earned run average (ERA) by a full run compared to the prior season (5.98 to 4.93). In 1980, Smith played in Triple-A with the Wichita Aeros of the American Association, recording 15 saves and a 3.70 ERA. With the major league Cubs struggling to a last-place finish, Smith was called up by Chicago in September.
Major league careerEdit
Chicago Cubs (1980–1987)Edit
Smith made his major league debut with the Cubs on September 1, 1980, against the Atlanta Braves. He pitched a scoreless inning and recorded his first MLB strikeout, coming against Glenn Hubbard. Smith made 18 relief appearances through the end of the season, pitching to a 2.91 ERA with a 2–0 record. He returned to the Cubs for the 1981 season, and was used mostly as a middle relief pitcher. His first major league save came on August 29, when he recorded the final five outs of a 3–1 Cubs win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Smith had an ERA of 3.94 through early June, when the season was interrupted by the 1981 Major League Baseball strike. He finished the season with an ERA of 3.51 and a 3–6 record, coming in 39 relief appearances plus a single start at the end of the season.
During the 1982 season, closing for the Cubs was shared between Smith, Willie Hernández, Bill Campbell and Dick Tidrow, each of whom finished at least 25 games while registering 17, 10, 8, and 6 saves, respectively. Smith also started five games between June 16 and July 5, registering a no decision followed by four consecutive losses. These five starts, along with the start at the end of the 1981 season, were the only six starts that Smith made during his major league career. Smith also collected his first MLB hit, coming on July 5 against Atlanta, a second-inning home run off of Phil Niekro. Smith only collected two additional hits, one each in 1983 and 1984, registering a career batting average of .047 (3-for-64).
Ferguson Jenkins, who had pitched for the Cubs from 1966 to 1973, returned to the Cubs for the final two seasons of his career, 1982 and 1983. Years later, Smith credited Jenkins with simplifying his delivery, introducing him to the slider and forkball, and teaching him how to set up hitters. Smith subsequently led the Cubs in games finished and saves for each of the 1983 through 1987 seasons.
During his first 10 appearances of 1983, Smith allowed no runs while allowing only three hits and striking out 12 batters in 12+2⁄3 innings pitched; his ERA was not above 1.85 at any point during the year. His overall 1.65 ERA for the season proved to be the lowest of his major league career, nearly two runs better than the NL average of 3.63, and he also posted a career-best 1.074 WHIP. He led the NL with 29 saves and 56 games finished. Smith was selected to his first All-Star Game, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits in an inning of work as his NL team lost the 1983 mid-summer classic to the AL, 13–3. Smith received a point in the NL's Cy Young Award voting and eight points in the NL Most Valuable Player Award voting.
The 1984 Cubs made the franchise's first postseason appearance since 1945, and were the first of only two playoff teams that Smith played for (the other being the 1988 Red Sox). Smith saved more than 30 games for the first time in his career, but compiled a 3.65 ERA, his worst of the decade. In the postseason, he appeared in two games of the NL Championship Series. In Game 2, Smith earned the save in a 4–2 Cubs win by recording the final two outs. The win gave the Cubs a two-games-to-none lead in the best-of-five series, but the San Diego Padres won the next three games to deny the Cubs a berth in the 1984 World Series. Smith took the loss in Game 4: entering in the bottom of the eighth with the game tied, 5–5, he allowed one hit and kept the game tied; in the bottom of the ninth, he allowed a one-out single to Tony Gwynn, followed by a two-run walk-off home run by Steve Garvey to force a deciding fifth game. Smith did not pitch in Game 5; while Chicago held a 3–0 lead after the second inning, San Diego score six unanswered runs for a 6–3 final. Of Smith's eight seasons with the Cubs (1980–1987), this was the only year the Cubs had a winning record, and the only time they finished higher than fourth in their division.
In 1985, Smith for the first time dominated the league in strikeouts as a relief pitcher. After averaging fewer than eight strikeouts per nine innings in each prior season, he improved to 10.32 in 1985. He finished the season with a career-high 112 strikeouts in only 97.2 innings. Meanwhile, the Cubs were in first place until a 13-game losing streak from June 12 to June 25 from which they never recovered.
Smith saved more than 30 games while the Cubs had losing records in 1985, 1986 and 1987. In 1987, he was chosen for his second All-Star Game. When the midsummer classic went into extra innings, Smith pitched the 10th, 11th and 12th innings, striking out four and getting credit for the win when the NL scored the only two runs of the game in the 13th.
With his 30th save in 1987, Smith became only the second pitcher (joining Dan Quisenberry) to reach the mark in four consecutive seasons. Even before then, he was known as one of the most feared relief pitchers in the game. One player told writers Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo for their book, Baseball Confidential, that one of the most daunting sights in the majors was Smith throwing "pure gas from the shadows" of Wrigley Field, which did not have lights at the time.
Despite his numbers, rumors were swirling about his weight and its effect on his knees and his request for a trade out of Chicago. On December 8, Smith, the team's career leader in saves, was traded to the Boston Red Sox for pitchers Al Nipper and Calvin Schiraldi. Nipper pitched only 104 more innings in the majors, and Schiraldi was out of baseball before age 30. Smith, meanwhile, registered nearly 300 saves after the trade. The trade started Smith on a journey involving seven teams in eight seasons, which may have affected his perceived electability among voters for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Boston Red Sox (1988–1990)Edit
After reaching the 1986 World Series, lost to the New York Mets in seven games, the Boston Red Sox finished the 1987 season with a losing record, at 78-84. One of the main problems was a weak bullpen, leading to the Red Sox trading pitchers Al Nipper and Calvin Schiraldi to the Cubs to acquire Smith in December 1987.
Despite giving up a game-winning home run in his 1988 Opening Day debut at Fenway Park, Smith posted an ERA of 2.80 in 64 regular season appearances, his lowest ERA since 1983 (1.65). The Red Sox finished the regular season with a record of 89–73, good enough to win the American League East division, one game ahead of the Detroit Tigers. In Smith's second (and final) career trip to the postseason, he made two appearances in the AL Championship Series. Against the Oakland Athletics, he was the losing pitcher in Game 2, allowing the winning run via three ninth-inning singles. In Game 4, with Boston down three games to none and trailing 2–1, Smith allowed two insurance runs in the eighth inning as Oakland completed the series sweep.
Entering 1989, Smith's salary rose to $1.425 million, but his ERA for the season was 3.57, his highest since 1984 (3.65), and he only pitched 70+2⁄3 innings, his lowest total since 1981 (60+1⁄3). He did record a career-high of 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings. The Red Sox finished at 83–79, third place in their division.
For the 1980s, Smith recorded 234 saves in 580 MLB relief appearances, with an ERA of 2.95. Smith and Jeff Reardon are considered two of the top relievers of the decade, with Reardon recording 264 saves in 507 relief appearances with a 3.06 ERA for the decade. In December 1989, the Red Sox signed free agent Reardon to a three-year, $6.8 million contract.
During the first month of the 1990 season, both Smith and Reardon pitched for the Red Sox, with Smith earning four saves and Reardon earning one. They both pitched in the same game four times, including a 7–5 Boston win over the Chicago White Sox on April 18 that was started by Roger Clemens and ended by Smith. On May 4, the Red Sox chose to bolster their offense and traded Smith to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Tom Brunansky, a former teammate of Reardon's with the Minnesota Twins. Overall in his two-plus seasons in Boston, Smith had appeared in 139 games while collecting 58 saves; in 168+2⁄3 innings pitched he struck out 209 batters.
St. Louis Cardinals (1990–1993)Edit
Smith made his St. Louis debut on May 6, 1990, allowing two runs on three hits in an inning of work during a 5–1 loss. He went on to make 53 appearances with the 1990 Cardinals, registering 27 saves with a 2.10 ERA while striking out 70 batters in 68+2⁄3 innings. He also had a stretch of 16 consecutive appearances without allowing a run, spanning late June to early August. The team, however, finished at 70–92 and in last place for the first time since 1918.
In 1991, St. Louis improved to 84–78, while Smith recorded a career-high 47 saves. His 45th save came on September 28, tying him with Bruce Sutter's National League record, which had been set in 1984, also with the Cardinals. Smith claimed the league record for himself three days later. With his salary roughly doubled to nearly $2.8 million, this was the first of four consecutive seasons during which he had over 40 saves. Smith won his first Rolaids Relief Man Award, received the most significant consideration for league MVP in his career (finishing eighth in NL MVP voting), and finished second in Cy Young Award voting behind only Tom Glavine, who had a breakout 20-win season with Atlanta.
In the early 1990s, records were falling quickly for closers. Smith set the single-season National League record for saves in 1991 and was on pace to break his own record in 1992. However, he fell four short of his record, which was broken the following season by Rod Beck. In 1992, Smith's former teammate Jeff Reardon broke the career saves record held for over a decade by Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers. However, Smith was registering saves at a faster pace than Reardon and by the end of 1992, he was not far behind him on the career list. Just two weeks into the 1993 season, Smith passed Reardon with career save number 358. At age 37, Reardon was slowing down, and Smith was well in front of him when Reardon retired in 1994. The day after setting the career major league record, Smith saved his 301st National League game to break that record as well. (As had been the case with the single-season NL record, the career NL record was held by Bruce Sutter). Smith had 15 saves in June 1993, the most ever in one month for a pitcher until John Wetteland and Chad Cordero tied him in June 1996 and June 2005, respectively. Smith reached 30 saves in only the 83rd game of the season, tying the record set by Bobby Thigpen in 1990 for the earliest any pitcher had reached 30 saves. (Éric Gagné broke the record in 2002). During August, Smith logged his 40th save for the third consecutive year, but his ERA had ballooned to a career-worst 4.50. Also, the Cardinals were 10 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies, seemingly out of contention, and Smith was poised to become a free agent after the season. On August 31, 1993, the Cardinals traded Smith to the New York Yankees for Rich Batchelor. Smith left the team as their all-time save leader until Jason Isringhausen passed him on June 13, 2006.
Late career (1993–1997)Edit
The Yankees were just 1+1⁄2 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays when they acquired Lee Smith, and he pitched nearly perfectly for the last month of the season. In eight games, Smith did not allow a single run and picked up three saves and 11 strikeouts. The Yankees as a team, however, did poorly during the remainder of the season, and Toronto easily pulled away to win the division. Smith's New York career lasted just those eight games as he filed for free agency after the season. He signed with the Baltimore Orioles for 1994 for $1.5 million plus incentives.
At age 36, Smith started 1994 pitching better than ever. In his first 12 games, he had 12 saves and a 0.00 ERA. After nearly two months, his ERA was still under 1.00 and it was still under 2.00 in mid-July. Smith had been selected for the All-Star Game in 1991, 1992 and 1993 but had not played. After his sixth selection in 1994, Smith was brought into the game to hold a two-run American League lead in the ninth inning. Instead, he gave up a game-tying two-run home run to Fred McGriff, and the AL lost in 10 innings. Smith's bad streak continued for the next several weeks until the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike ended the season. He filed for free agency again and signed a two-year contract with the California Angels for over $2.5 million while the strike was still in progress.
In 1995, Smith registered a save in every appearance from April 28 to June 25. On June 11, he saved his 16th consecutive game to break the major league record set by Doug Jones in 1988. He ran his streak to 19 games before finally blowing a save on June 28. (John Wetteland broke the record the next year by saving 24 straight). After keeping his ERA at 0.00 through the first two months of the season, Smith was selected to his seventh and final All-Star Game, thereby becoming only the fourth player to be an All-Star for four different teams (after Walker Cooper, George Kell and Goose Gossage). Smith did not fare well for the next month, pushing his ERA all the way up to 5.40. Regardless, the Angels held a double-digit lead in the division and seemed poised for the postseason. However, the Angels went 14–29 in their final 43 games to finish in a tie with the Seattle Mariners atop the AL West, then lost the tie-breaker game to miss the playoffs. Despite the team's difficulties, Smith pitched effectively during August and September, registering 13 saves against a single blown save. He finished the season with 37 saves and an ERA more than a run lower than the AL average (3.47 vs. 4.71).
For 1996, the Angels replaced Smith in the closer role with second-year pitcher Troy Percival. After only eight games as a setup pitcher, Smith, who was unhappy in California, was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Chuck McElroy on May 27. He resumed setup duty for the Reds—this time for Jeff Brantley, who was in the midst of his best season—but did not fare as well in his return to the National League. His ERA was nearly as high as the league average, his strikeout rate was the lowest in 15 years, and the Reds granted him free agency after the season.
He was picked up by the Montreal Expos in the following season for only $400,000 and had the worst season of his career. His last game of the season was two innings of relief during extra innings of an all-Canada interleague game (sometimes called the Pearson Cup) won by Toronto on July 2. It turned out to be the last game of his major league career. On July 15, 1997, Lee Smith announced his retirement.
After posting career-worsts in ERA (5.82), hits per nine innings (11.63) and several other statistics and then announcing his retirement in mid-July, Smith was released by the Expos on September 25, 1997. Regardless, the Kansas City Royals signed Smith as a free agent and invited him to spring training for 1998. When he refused to start the season in the minor leagues, the Royals released him. Later in 1998, he signed a minor league deal with the Houston Astros, but with an ERA near 7.00 at Triple-A, he retired from the majors again.
Two years after his retirement in 1998, Smith went to work as a roving minor league pitching instructor for the San Francisco Giants. Giants director of player personnel, former teammate Dick Tidrow, along with the manager of the Double-A Shreveport Captains, Jack Hiatt, offered the job to Smith, who gladly agreed, since it was right in his hometown. Smith still held this job with the Giants as of 2009.
In the 2006 World Baseball Classic, Smith served as the pitching coach of the South Africa national baseball team, which was eliminated in pool play, finishing with an 0–3 record. In 2007, Smith participated as a coach in the second annual European Baseball Academy for Major League Baseball International in Tirrenia, Italy. The Academy provides instruction to young players from Europe and Africa, several of whom have signed professional contracts. For the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Smith returned as a coach for South Africa; the team was again eliminated during pool play, losing both of their games.
Smith has three children from a previous marriage, Nikita, Lee Jr. and Dimitri. From his current marriage, he has an additional three children, Alana, Nicholas, and Vatsal.
Hall of Fame candidacyEdit
In 1995, Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter Jim Murray selected Lee Smith as the active player most likely to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, describing him as "the best one-inning pitcher the game ever saw", and "the best at smuggling a game into the clubhouse in history." Since his retirement two years later, much speculation had centered on Smith's specific chances of becoming a member of the Hall of Fame as well as the criteria for relief pitchers and closers in general. Only Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter, Trevor Hoffman, and Mariano Rivera have been inducted into the Hall of Fame-based primarily on their relief pitching, and only Sutter and Hoffman have been inducted with fewer innings or starting appearances than Smith. In addition, Fingers and Eckersley – the only two to be elected in fewer than eight tries – won MVP awards, and Sutter captured a Cy Young Award, but Smith was rarely a serious contender for either trophy. He pitched in a transitional era, when closers began to be expected to pitch only a single inning; although Smith and Goose Gossage each pitched in slightly over 1,000 games, Gossage ended his career with over 500 more innings. Sutter was the first pitcher ever elected to the Hall with fewer than 1,700 innings pitched; Smith, who pitched fewer innings every year from 1982 through 1989 and never pitched more than 75 innings after 1990, ended his career with fewer than 1,300. In 2005, statistician Alan Schwarz described Smith as a long shot for election despite the career record, and used Retrosheet data to compare the saves of several top relievers including Smith, Eckersley, Fingers, Gossage and Sutter. While Smith's save percentage (82%), outs per save (3.72) and average of inherited runners per game (.50) compared well with Eckersley's marks (84%, 3.33, .49), his figures in the last two categories sharply trailed those of the others; Fingers, Gossage and Sutter all averaged between 4.72 and 4.82 outs per save, with Sutter inheriting .67 runners per game and the other two .86, suggesting their saves were harder to achieve. Smith started his career earning multiple-inning saves, but the strategy in baseball for closers changed, and he was later used as a one-inning pitcher. He had a higher career save percentage than Fingers, Gossage and Sutter. Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera both exceeded Smith's former record of 478 saves, and the two are now widely considered the best one-inning closers ever.
At Sutter's July 2006 induction to the Hall, Smith talked with reporters about his chances for election. Like many others, he commented that he was puzzled that he had not yet been selected. "This confuses the hell out of me. But I've always been baffled by it", he said. Smith's candidacy may have been hampered by the number of outstanding relievers on the ballot; Sutter had earned increasing vote totals for nine years before Smith appeared on the ballot, and Gossage—who first appeared on the ballot three years before Smith—had received greater support in each year from 2004 until his induction in 2008.
In his first year of eligibility, 2003, Smith received 210 votes of the 496 total ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA)—42.3%, with 75% being the minimum to be elected. In 2004, Smith only received 185 votes out of the 506 total ballots cast (36.6%). In 2005, Smith improved from the previous year's results, and received a total of 200 votes out of the 516 ballots cast (38.7%). Smith further improved in 2006, by receiving 234 votes out of the 520 ballots cast (45%). In 2007, Smith received only 217 votes out of the 545 total ballots cast (39.8%). Smith increased his total in 2008, with 235 votes, 43.3% of the total ballots cast. He received 44.5% of the vote in 2009 and 47.3% of the vote in 2010. In 2011, he received 45.3% of the vote. He peaked at a new high of 50.6% in 2012, but dropped down to 47.8% in 2013. In 2014, he dropped to 29.9%, but received 30.2% of the vote in 2015. He received a slight bump in 2016, garnering 34.1% of the vote. He failed to gain induction in 2017, when he received 34.2% of the vote in his 15th and final year on the ballot. Smith was the last player to appear on 15 BBWAA ballots, grandfathered after a 2014 change limited players to 10 years on the ballot.
Having not been elected by the BBWAA, Smith was later selected for consideration by the 16-member Today's Game Committee as part of 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting. On December 9, 2018, Smith and outfielder Harold Baines were elected, receiving 16 and 12 votes, respectively, to meet the 75% threshold for induction. A formal induction ceremony was held in Cooperstown, New York, on July 21, 2019.
- "Padres closer Trevor Hoffman to catch ceremonial first pitch delivered by Lee Smith prior to Thursday's game". MLB.com. October 4, 2006. Archived from the original on November 1, 2007. Retrieved May 8, 2007.
- Long, Shepard C. "Lee Smith". BaseballLibrary.com. Archived from the original on January 5, 2007. Retrieved August 13, 2006.
- "Chicago Cubs Top 10 Career Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- "Carpenter stifles Pirates". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. AP. June 14, 2006. p. 15. Retrieved June 4, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- Poloncarz, Neal. "Lee Smith". SABR. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- Eskew, Alan. "Pierre, Rollins two of many to win Legacy Awards". MLB.com. Archived from the original on July 19, 2005. Retrieved August 13, 2006 – via Wayback Machine.
- "1975 Baseball Draft". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- Allen, Teddy; Marshall, John James (July 26, 1987). "The 'other' Lee Smith". Chicago Tribune. p. 4-8. Retrieved June 4, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- "Lee Smith Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- "The 1980 Season". Retrosheet. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- "Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs". Retrosheet. September 1, 1980. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- "Lee Smith Stats". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- "The 1981 CHI N Regular Season Pitching Log for Lee Smith". Retrosheet. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- "Chicago Cubs 3, Los Angeles Dodgers 1". Retrosheet. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- "1981: No Ball, One Strike". This Great Game. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
- "1982 Chicago Cubs Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
- "The 1982 CHI N Regular Season Pitching Log for Lee Smith". Retrosheet. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
- "Lee Smith". Retrosheet. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
- "The 1982 CHI N Regular Season Batting Log for Lee Smith". Retrosheet. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
- "Atlanta Braves 7, Chicago Cubs 5". Retrosheet. July 5, 1982. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
- "Fergie Jenkins Stats". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
- Murray, Jim (August 24, 1995). "Baseball Collecting Is Hot, but No One Saves Like Him". Los Angeles Times. p. C8. Retrieved June 6, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- "1983 Chicago Cubs Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
- "1984 Chicago Cubs Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
- "1985 Chicago Cubs Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
- "1986 Chicago Cubs Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
- "1987 Chicago Cubs Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
- "Lee Smith 1983 Pitching Gamelogs". Sports Reference, Inc. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "1983 NL Team Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- "1983 National League Expanded Leaderboards". Sports Reference, Inc. Archived from the original on May 1, 2007. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "American League 13, National League 3". Retrosheet. July 6, 1983. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- "Awards Voting for 1983". Sports Reference, Inc. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "Cubs Clinch NL East Crown: First Title Since 1945". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. AP. September 25, 1984. p. 14. Retrieved June 11, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- "The 1984 CHI N League Championship Series Pitching Log for Lee Smith". Retrosheet. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- "Chicago Cubs 4, San Diego Padres 2". October 3, 1984. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- Gattie, Gordon. "October 3, 1984: Steve Trout's solid performance puts Cubs one win away from World Series". SABR. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- "San Diego Padres 7, Chicago Cubs 5". Retrosheet. October 6, 1984. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- "San Diego Padres 6, Chicago Cubs 3". Retrosheet. October 7, 1984. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- "Chicago Cubs Team History & Encyclopedia". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
- "1985 Chicago Cubs Schedule, Box Scores and Splits". Sports Reference, Inc. Archived from the original on June 24, 2007. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "July 14, 1987 All-Star Game – American League vs. National League". Retrosheet. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- Goode, Jon (June 19, 2004). "Close up with the ultimate closer". Boston.com. Retrieved August 19, 2006.
- "Chicago Cubs Pitching Leaders". Sports Reference, Inc. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- Holtzman, George Vass, Jerome; George Vass (2001). Baseball, Chicago Style: A Tale of Two Teams, One City. Chicago, Illinois: Bonus Books, Inc. p. 214. ISBN 1-56625-170-2.
- "Smith's chances for the Hall of Fame". The Baseball Page. Archived from the original on August 20, 2006. Retrieved August 18, 2006.
- "1987 Boston Red Sox Statistics and Roster". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
- "Red Sox beef up bullpen". Brattleboro Reformer. Brattleboro, Vermont. AP. December 9, 1987. p. 14. Retrieved July 3, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- "Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox Box Score". Baseball-Reference.com. April 4, 1988. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
- "The 1988 Season". Retrosheet. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
- "Oakland Athletics 4, Boston Red Sox 3". Retrosheet. October 6, 1988. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
- "Oakland Athletics 4, Boston Red Sox 1". Retrosheet. October 9, 1988. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
- "The 1989 Season". Retrosheet. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
- Michael W (April 29, 2010). "MLB: 10 Best Relief Pitchers of the 1980s: Gossage, Orosco, Sutter?". Bleacher Report. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
- "Jeff Reardon Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
- "Reardon bolts; Hrbek signs". Argus Leader. Sioux Falls, South Dakota. AP. December 7, 1989. p. 1D. Retrieved July 3, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- "The 1990 BOS A Regular Season Pitching Log for Lee Smith". Retrosheet. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
- "The 1990 BOS A Regular Season Pitching Log for Jeff Reardon". Retrosheet. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
- "Boston Red Sox 7, Chicago White Sox 5". Retrosheet. April 18, 1990. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
- Cafardo, Nick; Fainaru, Steve (May 5, 1990). "Sox trade Smith for Brunansky". The Boston Globe. p. 29. Retrieved July 3, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- "The 1990 STL N Regular Season Pitching Log for Lee Smith". Retrosheet. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
- "Cincinnati Reds 5, St. Louis Cardinals 1". Retrosheet. May 6, 1990. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
- "St. Louis Cardinals Team History & Encyclopedia". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
- O'Neill, Dan (September 29, 1991). "Savoring Smith: Teammates Pull For Cards Reliever To Break Mark". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 3E. Retrieved July 18, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- "Cardinals 3, Expos 1". The Gettysburg Times. October 2, 1991. p. 14. Retrieved July 18, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- "Rookie of the Year and Rolaids Relief Award Winners". Sports Reference, Inc. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "Awards Voting for 1991: NL Cy Young Voting". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- Neyer, Rob (2003). Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups: A Complete Guide to the Best, Worst, and Most Memorable Players to Ever Grace the Major Leagues. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 45. ISBN 0-7432-4174-6.
- "Year in Review: 1992 American League". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "On April 13, 1993 in Baseball history". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- Svrluga, Barry (June 28, 2005). "C. Cordero Could Tie a Saves Mark". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 13, 2006.
- "Nomo wins seventh straight, hits go-ahead double". Associated Press. July 1, 2002. Retrieved August 16, 2006.
- "Cards Trade Ace Reliever Lee Smith To N.Y. Yankees". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. September 20, 1993. p. 46. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
- Leach, Matthew (June 13, 2006). "Izzy now Cards all-time saves leader". MLB.com. Archived from the original on June 28, 2006. Retrieved August 20, 2006.
- "Lee Smith 1993 Pitching Gamelogs". Sports Reference, Inc. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "1993 New York Yankees Trades and Transactions". Sports Reference, Inc. Archived from the original on April 26, 2007. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "Lee Smith Is a New Oriole". New York Times. January 30, 1994. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
- "Lee Smith 1994 Pitching Gamelogs". Sports Reference, Inc. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "July 12, 1994 All-Star Game – American League vs. National League". Retrosheet. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "Lee Smith 1995 Pitching Gamelogs". Sports Reference, Inc. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "June (Sports Year in Review)". CNN.com. 1995. Archived from the original on October 30, 2006. Retrieved August 17, 2006.
- "June 28, 1995 California Angels at Texas Rangers Box Score and Play by Play". Sports Reference, Inc. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
- "Baseball quick quiz". 62 (7). Baseball Digest. July 2003. p. 51. Archived from the original on 2016-03-02. Retrieved August 21, 2006.
- DiGiovanna, Mike (August 6, 2015). "It has been 20 years since the Angels' biggest collapse". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
- "1995 AL Team Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
- Nightengale, Bob (June 10, 1996). "Bowden's move makes division rivals see Reds". The Sporting News. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved August 21, 2006.
- "1996 Cincinnati Reds Trades and Transactions". Sports Reference, Inc. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "July 2, 1997 Game – Toronto Blue Jays vs. Montreal Expos". Retrosheet. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "1996 Montreal Expos Trades and Transactions". Sports Reference, Inc. Archived from the original on February 7, 2007. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "Giants finalize Minors coaching staffs". MLB.com. January 29, 2007. Archived from the original on November 1, 2007. Retrieved October 13, 2007.
- Bowers, Faye (March 9, 2006). "South Africa takes to a new diamond". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved August 18, 2006.
- "Major League Baseball International to conduct European Baseball Academy July 27-Aug. 18 in Italy". MLB.com. July 19, 2006. Retrieved August 18, 2006.
- "Final Rosters for 2009 World Baseball Classic unveiled". mister-baseball.com. February 25, 2009. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
- Bloom, Barry (July 30, 2006). "Sutter Closes Out Historic Day in Cooperstown". National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from the original on August 14, 2006. Retrieved August 19, 2006.
- Schwarz, Alan (January 2, 2005). "When a Game Saved Was a Game Earned". The New York Times. p. D8. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
- Zimniuch, Fran (2010). Fireman: The Evolution of the Closer in Baseball. Chicago: Triumph Books. pp. 227, 233. ISBN 978-1-60078-312-8.
- Zimniuch 2010, p. 230
- Zimniuch 2010, p. 231
- Zimniuch 2010, p. 217
- Jenkins, Chris (July 30, 2006). "Confused Lee Smith still waiting". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved August 19, 2006.
- "History of BBWAA Hall of Fame Voting: 2003 Election". Baseball Writers' Association of America. April 7, 2007. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2007.
- "History of BBWAA Hall of Fame Voting: 2004 Election". Baseball Writers' Association of America. April 7, 2007. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2007.
- "History of BBWAA Hall of Fame Voting: 2005 Election". Baseball Writers' Association of America. April 7, 2007. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2007.
- "History of BBWAA Hall of Fame Voting: 2006 Election". Baseball Writers' Association of America. April 7, 2007. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2007.
- "History of BBWAA Hall of Fame Voting: 2007 Election". Baseball Writers' Association of America. January 9, 2007. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2007.
- "Gossage voted into baseball Hall; Rice just misses". ESPN.com. January 8, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2008.
- Snyder, Matt (January 18, 2017). "Baseball Hall of Fame results: Lee Smith becomes final player to miss out on 15th try". CBSSports.com. Archived from the original on January 19, 2017.
- "George Steinbrenner, Lou Piniella part of 10-man ballot for Today's Game Era committee". ESPN. Nov 5, 2018. Retrieved Nov 5, 2018.
- Gonzales, Mark (December 9, 2018). "Cubs pitcher Lee Smith and White Sox outfielder Harold Baines elected to the Hall of Fame". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
- Kekis, John (July 22, 2019). "Rivera plays closer role again at the Baseball HOF induction". Detroit Free Press. AP. p. B5. Retrieved May 29, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lee Smith (baseball).|
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or Baseball-Reference (Minors), or Retrosheet
- Lee Smith at SABR (Baseball BioProject)
- Lee Smith at Baseball Library