Smith reaches top of saves list with No. 358
In between, Smith’s consistent excellence led him to the top of the all-time saves list.
Smith’s scoreless ninth inning on April 13, 1993, at Dodger Stadium resulted in a 9-7 win for the St. Louis Cardinals and Smith’s 358th career save. Jeff Reardon held the saves record with 357, and remained active that season with the Cincinnati Reds.
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Smith finished with 43 saves for the Cardinals – 10 short of NL leader Randy Myers of the Cubs – and three for the Yankees, for whom he appeared in eight games without allowing a run.
The 35-year-old Smith became a free agent following the season, then signed with the Baltimore Orioles. He led all of baseball with 33 saves in 41 games in the strike-shortened 1994 campaign and saved another 35 games with the Angels in 1995 before closing his career with stints with the Reds and Expos.
When Smith retired from baseball during the 1997 season, his 478 saves were easily the most in history. He held the saves record for more than 13 years before Trevor Hoffman passed him during the 2006 season.
“You’ve got to turn the page when you’re a closer,” Torre said when Smith was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2019. “You can’t live off yesterday’s performance whether it be good or bad. (Smith) had a perfect temperament for it.”
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum