A little belated, but congratulations to former Chicago Cubs pitcher Lee Smith, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this past weekend by the Today's Game Era Committee.
He played for 18 seasons with 8 teams, and was one of the first pitchers to master the role of closer, as it transitioned from just another reliever to a one-inning specialist. He held the career saves record of 478 until 2006, when it was broken by Trevor Hoffman (inducted in 2018) and later, Mariano Rivera (likely to be elected by the BBWA in 2019).
I had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times during Cubs Spring Traning games in Mesa, AZ, where he was signing autographs to benefit the Fergie Jenkins Foundation. He truly is one of the nicest, friendliest guys you could meet. He loved talking about his career and the game of baseball with whoever stopped by, and always had a smile on his face.