Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ex-Teammates Save Memories of Lee Smith

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ex-Teammates Save Memories of Lee Smith

Article excerpt

Bob Tewksbury won't soon forget Lee Smith, although his first memory is not an especially pleasant one.

"When they traded for Lee in 1990, I was the one who got sent down," Tewksbury said.

"But over the course of the last three years, he saved more games for me than anyone. He's very special to me."

The lasting memory of Smith, who was traded Tuesday to the New York Yankees, will be filled with humor, gratefulness and admiration.

"All the guys liked him and respected him," said Tewksbury, who has won 51 games since 1990.

"The thing I will remember most about Lee is not all the saves, but the way he handled himself like a professional everyday. And the way he slept."

Smith was notorious for taking naps in the clubhouse. He also was unshakable in his pressure-packed job.

"Lee was always the same, no matter what happened," reliever Mike Perez said. "That's what I learned from him. He could have a bad outing and put it behind him and go out the next day and do the job."

One didn't have to be a pitcher to appreciate Smith's elasticity.

"He was a lot of fun and you always knew he'd do the job," outfielder Bernard Gilkey said. "He was easy-going, but you know he is a great competitor. You have to be to reach the success he's had at this level.

"It was great experience playing with him. I can say at the end of my career that I played with the all-time saves leader."

What the experience will be without Smith, who left with 43 saves in his pocket, remains to be seen.

After Wednesday, the Cardinals' bullpen had a total of seven saves, four by Perez and one each by Rob Murphy, Lee Guetterman and Omar Olivares.

"We're going to try it by committee in September," pitching coach Joe Coleman said. "We're going to pretty much go with whoever is available. Everybody will get an opportunity. This last month is going to be very important in telling us about next year."

The all-for-one approach will include newcomer Richard Batchelor, the righthander the Cardinals acquired from New York in the trade. …

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