St. Louis Cardinals: All-time top five Cardinals closers

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Lee Smith. Mandatory Credit: Steve Gardner: USA Today

2) Lee Smith, Closer – St. Louis Cardinals, 1990-1993

In just-under four seasons in St. Louis, Smith racked up 160 saves while finishing 245 games in the process. During his illustrious big-league career, the right-hander closed out 478 contests, which, to this day, ranks third all-time.

His best days came as a member of the Chicago Cubs, but you could make the case (fairly easily) that he was more effective with the Cardinals. How, you may ask? Simple. He appeared in 458 games for the Cubs, earning 180 saves in the process. With St. Louis, he needed just 245 games to hit 160 – an impressive ratio.

During the 1991 season, Smith set a new NL record, closing out 47 games for the Cardinals, finishing second in the Cy Young voting in the process. Leading the league in saves was something he became familiar with, as he did it in the National League on three separate occasions and in the American League once with the Orioles.

It wasn’t until the top man on this list came along that any Cardinals reliever topped his 160 saves with St. Louis, and for that reason, he comes in at No. 2.

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