Former Expos/Nationals with a case for the Hall of Fame

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Tim Raines is in his 4th year of eligibility and has seen an increase in vote percentage with each new ballot and I’m expecting the trend to continue again this year. Some of the factors working against Raines include

1. Having played over half his career with Montreal. His best years were spent in Montreal so the attention given to him was not as high as if he had been playing for say the Yankees.

2. He played in 3 seasons that were shortened due to strikes. Now they may have not taken away a ton of stats but it did take away some stats.

For me what it comes down to is Raines was a leadoff and what is the job of a leadoff hitter? To get on base and Tim Raines was great at getting on base especially during his prime during the 80s

1981- 6th in the NL in obp
1983- 4th in the NL in obp
1984- 4th in the NL in obp
1985- 3rd in the NL in obp
1986- 1st in the NL in obp
1987- 3rd in the NL in obp
1989- 5th in the NL in obp

He was consistently near the top in on base percentage during the 80′s. On top of being able to get on base he was lethal on the base paths and his 808 steals rank 5th all time. What was even more impressive than the overall number of steals is his 85% stolen base percentage. Just to give you an idea of how good 85% is here are how some of the other famous base stealers have done

Rickey Henderson- 81%
Lou Brock- 75%
Vince Coleman- 81%

So he was pretty dang good when it came to getting steals which is a somewhat underrated part of the game. By getting steals it pretty much turned what was singles in to doubles and put him in scoring position for the players behind him.

He probably wont get in this year but somewhere down the road who knows because he does have a shot.

Larry Walker is on the line of what is more important reaching the magical numbers (500 home runs or 3,000 hits) or just his overall display of play on the field.

.313 batting average, .400 on base percentage, ..565 slugging percentage, 140 ops+

Walker hit for power (383 home runs), for average (.313 batting average) and was an above average player on the base paths (230 steals and 75% steal percentage). Walker could get it done with his bat as well as his glove having won 7 gold gloves.

People will use his injuries and the fact that he played in Coors Field pre-humidor against him which to me is a tad bit unfair. There are a number of players in the Hall of Fame who did much better while playing at home than they did on the road.

Plus just take a look at his last season in Montreal

103 games- 76 runs 44 doubles, 19 home runs, 86 rbis, 15 steals, .322 avg, .394 obp, .587 slg, 151 ops+

Now remember it was the 1994 season so only 114 games were played that season. Whether it was with Montreal, Colorado or even as an old man in St Louis you could see he was an amazing bat.

His OPS ranks 17th all time
His SLG ranks 16th all time
His OPS+ ranks 72nd all time

Everything about Walker screams hall of famer other than the fact that he did not reach the magic numbers. I’m not sure if he will get in because his injuries might be held against him too much but he would get my vote. I’d actually vote for him before I would Raines.

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Tags: Expos Hall Of Fame Larry Walker Lee Smith MLB Nationals Rockies Tim Raines

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  • mammerman

    I agree that the Closer role goes under appreciated in the Hall. Eck, Goose, and Sutter really set the wheels in motion for the closers. However, Lee has a case against him in that his position wasn’t noticed considering his lack of flair and superstardom….and durability is ofter overlooked. I do think he should be in the Hall, he was once the all time leader in saves.

    Raines will most likely be in the Hall but it will still take him a few more year. His number I think are great and people often have him under the radar. The man had over 2,600 hits spread out over a 23 year career and had 808 SB’s. A man with great speed and superb hitting ability should’t go unnoticed. Some voters might see his drug use as a factor but that was a common thing for players in the 80′s. Just ask Dave Parker and Rickey.

    Walker has always been a consistent player throughout his career although I don’t see him as Hall worthy. His numbers are great with a career avg. of .313 and managed to hit close to 400 HR’s. For a 17 year career his hits are on par for a close to 3,000 number had he overcame injuries but it is those injuries that just might hold him back. In the future I might reconsider but for now, I’ll pass. Oh and Coors Field had nothing on this guy’s game.

    • Scott Stewart

      I’m glad to see others agree with me on Lee Smith. Like you said he was the all time leader in saves. Plus it was not as if he was the all time leader one year and then past the next he was the all time leader for 13 seasons the guy got the job done for a long time.

      You are right Raines does have the drug problem that probably does hurt him in the eyes of some of the voters. For me the way I look at it though is it didnt stop him from putting together a great career. They need to remember he was not Doc Gooden or Strawberry where drugs actually completely ruined what would have been a great career.

      I can why you would not vote for Walker when it comes to the hall of fame. With injuries and all he is not a guy that I would consider a lock to make the hall of fame but just from my own personal point of view I’d like to see him get in one day. Despite the injuries I still feel that he managed to piece together one heck of a career for himself. It is a shame though that he was hurt so much because his numbers would have been without a doubt hall of fame worthy.

  • mammerman

    Walker certainly has Hall numbers, however, the only problem he goes under-appreciated is the era he played in. Yes his injuries flanked him but when you play in an era with guys like Bonds, Griffey, McGwire, A-Rod, etc your accomplishments tend to go under the radar. People forget that Rockies era with him and Dante bichette could have had huge success if they had solid pitching and were able to stick around with Todd Helton. He won’t get in on the first few tries but I’d like to see him in. Class act he was.