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Harold Baines, Lee Smith elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Harold Baines, Lee Smith elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Smith, who held the major league record for saves when he retired, was an easy pick when the Today’s Game Era Committee met at the winter meetings.

It took 12 votes for election by the 16-member panel — Smith was unanimous, Baines got 12 and former outfielder and manager Lou Piniella fell just short with 11.

George Steinbrenner, Orel Hershiser, Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Davey Johnson and Charlie Manuel all received fewer than five votes.

Smith and Baines both debuted in Chicago during the 1980 season. Smith began with the Cubs and went on to record 478 saves while Baines started out with the White Sox and had 2,866 hits.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

Baines had 384 home runs and 1,628 RBIs in a 22-year career — good numbers, but not stacking up against the greats of his day. He never drew more than 6.1 percent in five elections by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, far from the 75 percent required.

Reinsdorf praised his former player in a statement. Baines currently serves as a team ambassador in the community-relations department of the White Sox.1

“So happy for Harold. He’s a great player and a great human being,” Reinsdorf said. “I am so honored that I was a member of the committee. He deserved to be in long ago. I am just so excited.

“Not only was Harold one of my favorite players to watch, but I have nothing but admiration for him as a player and as a human being,” he said.

Tony La Russa, Baines’ first big league manager, also was on the panel that elected him.

In the past, Phil Rizzuto and Bill Mazeroski were among the players who benefited from friendly faces on Veterans Committees to reach the Hall. That panel has been revamped over the years, and the Today’s Game Era group was created as part of changes in 2014.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“The era committees were established as a sort of a court of appeals for an opportunity in the event that over time it was felt that maybe somebody slipped through the cracks,” Hall president Jeff Idelson said. “And in the case of someone who received 6 percent of the vote in the BBWAA election, the reason that may have happened could be for many, many reasons.”