© 2005 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

01/04/05 3:20 PM ET

Smith's Hall support stagnates

All-time saves leader finishes eighth in voting

  2005 Hall of Fame
  voting results
The complete vote (516 ballots, 387 to gain election, 26 to remain on ballot):
 Player  Votes   %
 Wade Boggs  474  91.9%
 Ryne Sandberg  393  76.2%
 Bruce Sutter  344  66.7%
 Jim Rice  307  59.5%
 "Goose" Gossage  285  55.2%
 Andre Dawson  270  52.3%
 Bert Blyleven  211  40.9%
 Lee Smith  200  38.8%
 Jack Morris  172  33.3%
 Tommy John  123  23.8%
 Steve Garvey  106  20.5%
 Alan Trammell   87  16.9%
 Dave Parker   65  12.6%
 Don Mattingly   59  11.4%
 Dave Concepcion   55  10.7%
 Dale Murphy   54  10.5%
 Willie McGee   26   5.0%
 Jim Abbott   13   2.5%
 Darryl Strawberry    6   1.2%
 Jack McDowell    4   0.8%
 Chili Davis    3   0.6%
 Tom Candiotti    2   0.4%
 Jeff Montgomery    2   0.4%
 Tony Phillips    1   0.2%
 Terry Steinbach    1   0.2%
 Mark Langston    0   0.0%
 Otis Nixon    0   0.0%
  Sights and sounds:

Boggs photo gallery
• Boggs highlights: 56K | 350K
Boggs conference call
Sandberg photo gallery
• Sandberg highlights: 56K | 350K
Sandberg conference call
• Official announcement: 56K | 350K
HOF president Dale Petroskey
  announces Class of 2005

While Bruce Sutter and Rich "Goose" Gossage continue their momentum toward Hall of Fame induction, Lee Smith is having a hard time gaining any traction. The all-time saves leader received 38.8 percent of the vote in Hall of Fame balloting announced on Tuesday.

Smith received exactly 200 votes out of a possible 516, good for the eighth-highest total among eligible candidates. His percentage is a bounce back from his 36.6 percent showing in 2004, but still below his first- year mark of 42.3 percent from 2003. Only three relief pitchers are currently in the Hall of Fame: Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers and Dennis Eckersley, the latter of whom was inducted in 2004.

Smith's case for enshrinement is based on sustained quality rather than a dominant peak. In addition to the saves record (he tallied 478), he ranks fifth on the all-time games pitched list. He tallied at least 25 saves in 13 different seasons and won three Rolaids Relief Awards, though he never won a Cy Young award.

Smith pitched for the Cubs from his 1980 debut through 1987. He made a stop in Boston, and then was sent to St. Louis. The big right-hander thrived as a Cardinal, enjoying one of his best seasons in 1991. That year, the imposing flame-thrower racked up 47 saves and posted a sparkling 2.34 ERA. He finished as the runner-up to Tom Glavine in National League Cy Young balloting.

Smith tallied 133 saves with the Cardinals before a 1993 trade sent him to the Yankees, and he also had brief stints with Baltimore, the Angels and the Expos. He retired in 1997.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.