Chicago Tribune

How napping through the early innings helped Lee Smith reach the Hall of Fame

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - Former Cubs closer Lee Smith was asked during a Hall of Fame press briefing Saturday what he would say to a manager if asked to be an "opener" for an inning or two.

"It wouldn't work," Smith replied. "Because I was sleeping."

A little later at a separate briefing, Harold Baines was asked what Smith was like as a teammate with the Orioles.

"When he wasn't sleeping?" Baines said with a grin.

Smith was one of the greatest closers in baseball history, recording 478 saves over 18 seasons and, like Baines, getting into the Hall through the Veterans Committee vote.

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