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Hall of Fame: Who's "your" guy?

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Lee Smith

Photograph By Getty Images

Michael Knisley: I get that his career W-L record (71-92) looks less than impressive, but to me, it's simple. When Lee Smith retired after the 1997 season, he was the all-time major league leader in saves (478), and he's still third on that list. Once you accept the closer as a vital part of a team (and if you don't, then you won't abide Mariano Rivera's induction when that happens), then you have to accept Smith as among the best there has ever been at that vital role. That, along with an intimidating mound presence second to none in his day, makes him Hall-worthy in my book. I've been voting for him, and will for as long as I can. And about that W-L record: Bruce Sutter, another closer, finished with a career record of 68-71. Less than impressive? Sure. But it didn't keep him out of Cooperstown.