There can be no doubt that Lee Smith was a dominating reliever. Annually, Smith was amongst the Saves leaders and led the league on four separate occasions. He was an intimidator on the mound, and unlike many Relief Pitchers, Lee Smith was far from a one season wonder and was actually a more effective ball player at the start of his second decade pitching than he was during the first.
The question then arises as to why Lee Smith has yet to be inducted to Hall of Fame. Critics have pointed to appearing for eight Major League teams and his ineffectiveness in two post seasons. Had Lee Smith led a team to a World Series (or at least been able to have a solid playoff game) his chances may have improved.
What is even more bizarre is the percentages he received form the Hall. His first year saw him get a healthy forty two percent of the vote which indicated a solid induction chance. Eight years later and Lee Smith has only climbed up to forty seven percent which may indicate that anyone who has made a decision for Lee Smith has already done so and those who haven’t aren’t likely to change their opinion. For a stat driven league, Lee Smith’s omission is a curious one indeed.