It is Tim Raines 10th time on the Hall of Fame ballot and his last chance to make the Hall. He's running out of chances. Last chance for the BBWAA to get it right. Last year he hit a new high at 69.8%.
Raines is one of my all-time favorite players. He was the second best lead off hitter of his era, likely the second best lead off hitter of all-time, but he played at the same time as Ricky Henderson.
Tim played for 23 seasons, the first 13 were with the Expos. He played 2502 games, scored 1571 runs., had 2605 hits, 808 stolen bases (with just 146 times caught) and a .294/.385/.425 line. He scored over 100 runs in 6 seasons and led the league in stolen bases 4 times. Tim was second in ROY voting in 1981, made 7 All-Star teams and had 1 Silver Slugger.
He is 51st career in runs scored, 37th in walks and 5th in stolen bases. But, maybe you had to watch him play to see just how good he was. He was one of those guys that could change a game just by getting to first.
I think Raines taught me more about baseball than anyone. Get on base. That's most important. Steal when it helps your team. And have fun. He also taught me the negative end of baseball, the team moved him to CF and he played well there, but the team didn't win, so they focused on his weak arm, like that cost them a lot of games. Bad teams focus on the wrong stuff.
I hope that, someday, he will be the 3rd player to go into the Hall of Fame wearing a Expos cap.
Raines has been a minor league base running and outfield coach for the Jays the last few years. I wouldn't mind seeing him get a job on the major league coaching staff.
Jonah Keri (I think Jonah is going around to BBWAA voters houses, threatening them with a baseball bat) in his book on the Expos, Up, Up and Away, makes the case for Tim:
Voters' obsession with round numbers—and only certain round numbers—has clouded their judgment. Tony Gwynn made the Hall of Fame on the first ballot with 97.6 percent of the vote. That always struck me as funny, and not because Gwynn wasn't a great player; he certainly was. But Gwynn posted a career .388 on-base percentage and 763 extra-base hits in 9,288 at-bats; compared to Raines' .385 OBP and 713 extra-base hits in 8,872 at-bats—with Raines stealing 489 more bases. The two started their careers and retired at almost exactly the same time, and the numbers add up to basically identical career value. But because Gwynn made his living slapping singles, while Raines was a master of drawing walks, Gwynn and his 3,141 hits sailed into the Hall, while Raines and his 2,605 hits are still on the outside looking in. Raines, by the way, also reached base more times in his career than Hall of Famers Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente, Lou Brock, Richie Ashburn .
Timing....SB just posted this:
A lot of debate about the Hall of Fame relates to comparing a candidate against others elected and excluded. The chart below shows all players who played the majority of their career after 1945 (excluding active players, and those on the ballot or yet to hit the ballot) according to how long they played and how productive they were. TRC+ is wRC+, just for all runs rather than just batting runs. This is not meant to be definitive, but a high level starting point showing how players with similarly productive and lasting careers have fared.
Similar Players: Rod Carew (elected BBWAA), Luke Appling (BBWAA), Tomy Gwynn (BBWAA), Ozzie Smith (BBWAA), Roberto Alomar (BBWAA), Ernie Banks (BBWAA), Lou Whitaker, Jim Thome (awaiting ballot), Graig Nettles, Carlos Beltran (active), Buddy Bell, Dwight Evans,