Lee Smith gives his speech at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

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Lee Smith Credits Family Amid Hall Of Fame Induction

Smith played eight seasons for the Cubs in his 18-year MLB career.

July 21, 2019 - 4:22 pm
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(AP) Lee Smith was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York on Sunday afternoon.

Smiling from beginning to end, Smith congratulated his new classmates before crediting his family and hometown of Castor, Louisiana for much of his success.

"It's been my family. They're the main reason I'm standing here today," Smith said. "To my mom and dad. Your support has meant everything to me."

Smith pitched 18 seasons for the Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, Yankees, Orioles, Angels, Reds and Expos and retired as MLB's all-time saves leader with 478, a title he held for 13 seasons. That total ranks third all-time, as do his 802 games finished.

A seven-time All-Star, Smith led his league in saves four times and reached the 30-save mark in 10 seasons. And he was a workhorse — of Smith's 478 saves, 169 required at least four outs and 94 required two or more innings.

The 6-foot-6 Smith was convinced to give up his love for basketball and chose baseball as his sport.

"I was 14 years old and I thought my future was basketball," said Smith, the first reliever to record 30 saves in 10 different seasons. "It wasn't just my arm that got me here. It's the whole community of Castor. I thank you."

Smith and Harold Baines were elected in December by a veterans committee.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.