Why Make Tim Raines Wait?

Despite his ties to Tommy Lasorda, I wholeheartedly agree that Mike Piazza is most deserving of his selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  He was no Johnny Bench behind the plate, but his career was lengthy and stellar. Any slow footed catcher with a lifetime batting average of .308 has proven that he could hit the ball where they ain’t and damned hard at that. I am re-publishing this post from a year ago because it still, unfortunately, pertains.

What, however, about a guy who played seven more seasons than Piazza, played 590 more games, had an on base percentage 8 points higher, was a great defender and stole 791 more bases? Okay, that last part was not fair but of course I am talking about the great Tim Raines.

Many old timers seem to have gotten a rather easy pass to the Hall but it seems as though the voters have been a bit hardassed of late. Look, if Ty Cobb and some of those other varmints can be there, let’s not get too choosy on the character thing. I am okay with Peckerhead Rose being there (as a plaque, not in person) and , yeah, Barry Bonds and the despicable Roger Clemens too. It’s not as though they are trying to buy automatic rifles or something.

The accomplishments on the field are what matters most or else it’s a horseshit barn full of Dale Murphy types who never pissed off the writers.

Raines came close in the latest balloting and it pains me to read stuff like, “…he’s bound to make it next time” or “…it’s too bad he played at the same time as Rickey Henderson.” He’s qualified, okay, get him in there while he’s still walking. That comparison to Henderson bit is really lame. Maybe they shouldn’t have let Lou Gehrig in because he was concurrent with Babe Ruth.

Piazza’s slugging percentage lifetime was a stupendous .545 but Raines was no mere singles hitter as his .425 slugging percentage shows. He logged 713 extra base hits among his career total of 2,605, which is 478 more hits than big Mike. He tallied 134 outfield assists. The 808 stolen bases are almost enough alone to qualify Raines for the Hall. Joe Morgan had 689 steals and a lifetime average of .271. Raines  batted .294 for his 23 year career.

There is something wrong with a system that denies a guy with all of those hits and steals and 1,571 runs scored. I don’t think it’s racism; I think baseball still has a way to go on racism but that it doesn’t  discriminate on Hall of  Fame selections that way.  So, no excuse: let’s get it right next time, boys and girls.

11 thoughts on “Why Make Tim Raines Wait?

  1. I fully believe that the Rock should have been a first or second ballot hall of famer. He doesn’t have a single number on his stats that can be used against his HOF case. I agree that he is one of the most underrated players is baseball history. I’ll take 75% next year but it damn well should be much higher and many years sooner.

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    1. Thanks Trevor. The whole mentality of waiting for years borders on cruelty and does nothing to add to the Hall’s stature. Also thanks for reminding me that he was the Rock.

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  2. Here’s one of my favorite comparison stats:

    Lou Brock’s highest single-season OBP .385 (went over .350 only seven times)

    Tim Raines’ career OBP .385 (went over .400 six times, lowest in at least 130 at-bats was .350)

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    1. Good information. It’s really to figure why some guys are favored and others not. Brock set records and was fantastic, at least on offense, but Raines’ career was arguably better. Thanks.

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  3. I’ll never forget back in 2001 when he returned to the Expos after missing a season due to illness. Sadly, with Barry Bonds’ home run record chase and fans still being loured into the long ball craze, his return was missed by most fans. But I enjoyed every moment when he played. It was the highlight of the season for me. It was great seeing him in an Expos uniform again. It was even better to see him hit over .300 and get to play with his son later in the year. Unfortunately, Bonds got the record, McGwire retired quietly, roids tainted baseball (I feel unjustly), Tim didn’t hit well with the Marlins in his last season, and he retired during a time when his remarkable career was overshadowed by Henderson, long home runs, and forgetful fans. I wonder if he could have pulled an Ichiro and hit like crazy if he had played in one more year in 2003?

    I’m looking forward to posting here again WHEN he gets voted-in in the new year. My rants will be twice as long and thrice as happy.

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  4. One more thing I want to clarify. I too was loured into the long ball craze…and I totally loved it! 1998 was a very special year that remains my favorite childhood sports memory. McGwire was a big teddy bear and Sosa was fun. Those guys forced me to love baseball again after hating it in 94. We, as fans, try to act like roids are the devil and shun those who used or played in that era. But when does commen sense come in to play? Did you not have one Topps baseball card from the 1980s to compare before and after shots of these huge muscle bound players? Come on people, we knew it was there and turned a blind eye because it was freakin awesome! I don’t judge that, I enjoyed the long prolific home runs as much as anyone. But I wouldn’t dare ostracize them after the fact, acting like they are bad and my morals and standards are miraculously so high. I enjoyed it, then roids got outlawed, and that era is over now. Don’t fight it, just enjoy the memories (that kind of home run prowess will never happen again) and hope the players don’t have too many long term health concerns.

    I digress…That all being said, I NEVER forgot about players like Tim Raines. I never forgot what players like him brought to the table. He just had the misfortune of Henderson and wrong era. I love the game and it’s history. In my mind, seeing Mr Raines playing into his 40s was history in the flesh.

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    1. That era was difficult for me because of the bloated home run totals and the fact that hypocrisy abounded (one of my earliest posts deals with that) but the other thing was that while all the attention went to the long ball specialists, players like Raines who were solid all around got rather short shrift. I prefer the brand of ball being played now but I do not condemn those who turned to ‘roids. Thanks.

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  5. I am so happy that Tim the Rock Raines is a Hall of Famer! I knew he was all along, but I’m so glad that he is finally getting what is deserved. I admire the fact he got past the drugs and lupus, and got to play with his son in the major leagues after all of that. I wish I could get a second chance so many times in my life. People like him give me hope. Go Rock go!

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  6. It has become too easy these days to judge and dismiss even the best people among us and I am happy that earned recognition for a man like Tim Raines has occurred. We all can learn and be glad for this.

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