Results tagged ‘ Lee Smith ’
(Photo by Stephen Green)
In a Hall of Fame vote filled with as much drama as checking off a name can produce, not one of the 37 eligible participants received enough votes to earn a Hall call. This is only the second time in four decades, and the first time since 1996, Baseball Writers’ Association of America voters failed to elect any candidates.
The 2013 ballot was headlined by controversial superstars—including baseball’s only seven-time MVP Barry Bonds and seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens—but it was former Astros catcher/second baseman Craig Biggio who led all candidates with 68.2 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility. Players must receive at least 75 percent of the vote to earn enshrinement.
While nobody got into Cooperstown by this vote, there was no shortage of former Cubs on the ballot. Lee Smith spent eight seasons on the North Side from 1980-87, compiling 180 saves. In his 11th year of eligibility, he earned 47.8 percent of the vote. Fred McGriff, who spent time with the Cubs in 2001-02, earned 20.7 percent of the vote. And, most notably, former slugger Sammy Sosa, owner of 609 career home runs (545 with the Cubs), received just 12.5 percent of the vote in his first season of eligibility. Though the total is small, it’s well above the 5 percent necessary to remain on the ballot.
Below is a list of former Cubs and the percentage of votes they received on the 2013 BBWAA ballot:
Lee Smith — 272 votes, 47.8 percent, eleventh year on ballot
Fred McGriff — 118 votes, 18.6 percent, fourth year on ballot
Sammy Sosa — 71 votes, 12.5 percent, first year on ballot
Rafael Palmeiro — 50 votes, 8.8 percent, third year on ballot
Kenny Lofton — 18 votes, 3.2 percent, first year on ballot (did not receive enough votes for 2014 ballot)
Todd Walker — 0 votes, 0 percent, first year on ballot (did not receive enough votes for 2014 ballot)
Rondell White — 0 votes, 0 percent, first year on ballot (did not receive enough votes for 2014 ballot)
Lee Smith was puzzled when Joan Janssen needed to take a timeout from a bullpen session to grab something from her purse.
“Wait a minute,” Smith said. “I got a relief pitcher with a purse?”
Mutual interest between Cubs legends and everyday fans defined the inaugural Chicago Cubs Fantasy Camp that took place Aug. 8-9 at Wrigley Field. On the 8th, campers had signed one-day contracts with Cubs general manager Jim Hendry.
Smith joined Randy Hundley, Billy Williams, Rick Sutcliffe and Ernie Banks to show 32 camp participants the basics of hitting, pitching and fielding before the campers split up into four teams and faced off tournament-style.
“There’s a lot of ability here,” Sutcliffe said. “There are some guys out here that are ready to get after it.”
Team Williams beat Team Banks 15-3 to take the day’s crown. Frank Cascella (below) was Team Williams MVP and Overall MVP.
Cascella, who moonlights as a Wrigley Field tour guide on the weekends and won his ticket from a radio show contest, was nevertheless blown away when he stepped “between the foul lines” on Monday morning.
“I didn’t want to say this to my wife, but it was up there with my kid being born for sure,” he said. “One of the best feelings ever… I had to fight back some emotion.”
The camp’s youngest player, 11-year-old Brian Brady (above with Hendry), was named the Defensive Player of the Day.
AJ Karstens, who hit the day’s only homer, was Team Banks MVP and the Long Ball Award winner. Josh Silver was Team Sutcliffe MVP while Chris Donaldson took the award for Team Smith.
Chatting with and learning from old pros was a treat for the campers.
“It feels so easy,” participant Chris Donaldson said. “The staff just makes us feel like we’re ballplayers. That’s all we could ask.”
Members of the triumphant Team Williams squad all were rewarded with bats engraved with their names. Tim Creed wrapped up his experience with a phrase uttered many times during the day: “It’s a dream come true.”
It was a long homestand, and the Cardinals took 2-of-3 after the Cubs took 2-of-3 from the Dodgers. But one thing was for sure: The Chicago Blackhawks were offering the entire city positive energy in their chase for the Stanley Cup, and they brought it to Wrigley Field.
Last Tuesday, after they had made quick work of the San Jose Sharks, several of the players were at the game and chatted up Cubs left-hander Tom Gorzelanny.
In the stands (left to right) Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Brian Campbell and Adam Burish, all sporting their playoff facial hair in true lumberjack style.
Burish and Gorzelanny (below, left) struck up a conversation right before the game started.
Then they all watched as Cubs legend Lee Smith helped conduct the 7th-inning stretch.
And as an added bonus, international kung-fu film star Jackie Chan (below) threw out the first pitch with rookie James Russell catching him.