Inside Baseball: Saving Grace

DURING THE last week of spring training, an American League general manager watched from a distance as the Orioles worked out before an exhibition game. "Who is that?" he asked, when he caught a glimpse of one lumbering Baltimore pitcher. "That's the worst-looking baseball player I've ever seen." When it turned out that the player in question was closer Lee Smith, the G.M. said, "How could the Orioles have signed him?"

He wasn't the only general manager who asked that question. It didn't matter that Smith had saved 46 games in 1993, running his career record total to 401. He was...

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