Harold Baines, Lee Smith elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Today’s Game ballot
CHICAGO – Their contributions are well-known to fans of the North and South Sides in the 1980s and 1990s, and now they’re going to be known by baseball fans throughout history.
On Sunday, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that former White Sox designated hitter Harold Baines and former Cubs closer Lee Smith have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the “Today’s Game” ballot.
Smith got every vote he could from the 16-member Today’s Game panel while Baines got 12, just enough to meet the requirement of 75 percent of the vote needed for election.
Other candidates for election included former White Sox outfield Albert Belle, former Cubs manager Lou Piniella, and outfielder Joe Carter, first baseman Will Clark, pitcher Orel Hershiser, managers Charlie Manuel and Davey Johnson along with late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
Smith finished his career with 478, which was the record when he retired and remains third today. During his eight years with the Cubs, Smith saved 180 of those games, sporting a 2.92 ERA, and helping the team to the 1984 National League Eastern Division title. At that time, it was the team’s first appearance in the postseason in 39 years.
He would play for eight teams of his 18-year career, most notably against the Cubs as a member of the Cardinals from 1990-1993.
Like Smith, Baines spent the majority of his career with the White Sox, putting on the team’s jersey for 14 of his 22 MLB seasons. During three separate stints with the team, the designated hitter had 1,773 hits on the South Side with 221 homers and 981 RBIs. He helped the 1983 White Sox capture the 1983 Western Division title, their first playoff appearance since 1959.
For his career, which included stints in Baltimore, Oakland, Texas, and Cleveland, Baines had 2,866 hits, 384 homers, and 1,628 RBI.