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(WSCR) Former Major League closer Lee Smith spent the first eight seasons of his 18-year career playing for the Chicago Cubs. Over those eight seasons the Cubs had a wining record only once, but the right-hander still looks back fondly on his days on the North Side.
“The team that we had here in Chicago, they were more like a family with me, with the 1984 team and the 1985 team, before everybody got hurt,” Smith said on the Mully and Hanley Show.
The 1984 Cubs won 96 games and finished atop the National League East, but would go on to lose in the National League Championship Series to the San Diego Padres.
“I really wanted to have like, a team that went to the playoffs and World Series,” Smith said. “But [it was] mostly the individual stats that I came by in Chicago. I would trade all those saves for a trip to the World Series.”
LISTEN: Lee Smith On The Mully And Hanley Show
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Smith ranks third All-Time with 478 saves, 180 of them came as a member of the Cubs. Smith later played for the St. Louis Cardinals for four seasons, recording 160 saves.
“The individual stats that I got when I was in St. Louis,” Smith said. “I was put in a situation where we had a really good ball club.”
Smith is among the players who have had the opportunity to play on both sides of the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry. And while he speaks fondly of both franchises, one obviously stands above the other in his mind.
“If I had a choice to pick a team to go into the Hall of Fame with,” Smith said. “It would be a tough call for me, personally, between the Cubs and Cardinals, but probably the team that gave me my first chance to play in the big leagues.”