Smith held the major league record for career saves with 478 from 1993 until 2006, when Trevor Hoffman surpassed it.
Yet the former imposing Cubs closer has seen fellow relievers Dennis Eckersley, Bruce Sutter and Goose Gossage elected to the Hall while he figuratively fidgets in the bullpen.
“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 [percentage] 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” . . .
. . . “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.”
You know, until Gossage got in last year following a multi-year whine fest, I would have thought that such antics from Smith would be counterproductive. But like they say, what’s good for the Goose . . .