Washington Nationals Legacy: Time For Tim Raines To Make Hall Of Fame
No Washington Nationals will make it into the Hall Of Fame in 2016, but its time for former Montreal Expo Tim Raines to be inducted into Cooperstown
We are days away from the announcement of who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. While no one will go in wearing a Washington Nationals hat, it’s time for a former Montreal Expos outfielder, Tim Raines, to have his day in Cooperstown.
If you go by the Hall Of Fame votes tracker of ballots that are made public (done by Ryan Thibodaux), it appears Raines will be one of the players who are enshrined in July. Here are the updated vote totals with just a few days to go (75% needed for induction)
Due to the changes to how long you can stay on the ballot, this is Raines’ final chance to make it into the Hall Of Fame. In his first year of eligibility (2008), he only received 24.3% of the vote. Considering the career Raines had in Montreal, it’s very surprising his vote total started off that low.
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In his 13 seasons with the Expos, Raines had a slash line of .301/.391/.437 with 96 home runs, 556 RBI’s, and 635 stolen bases. Speed was one of the strengths for Raines during his career. From 1981-1985, he had the most stolen bases in the National League four times (finished second in 1985).
Currently, Raines’ 808 stolen bases are the fifth most of any player in baseball history. In 1983, he had 90 stolen bases out of 104 attempts. Despite the high stolen base total, he finished fifth in the MVP voting, but it didn’t help him that his teammate and Hall Of Famer Andre Dawson finished second that year.
Three years later, Raines won the batting title when he hit .334 and led the league in on-base percentage as well (.413). Despite winning his first and only Silver Slugger award of his career, he finished sixth in the MVP voting.
While I never got the chance to see Tim Raines play, I was talking with my fellow co-editor Ron Juckett about Raines the other day. We talked about why he might’ve been the victim of the era he played in. He never finished higher than fifth in the MVP voting and in 1981, he finished second in the National league Rookie of the Year voting to Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela.
One comparison I agreed with Juckett on was when you compare Raines to the man with the most stolen bases in baseball history, Rickey Henderson. While Raines stole 90 bases in ’83, Henderson stole 108 and he stole 130 bases the year before, which is a crazy number.
Juckett came up with the great comparison of Raines being Trevor Hoffman while Henderson is the equivalent to Mariano Rivera. This comparison makes sense when you consider Henderson played in 60 postseason games with five different teams while Raines played in 34 with three different teams (23 with the Yankees from 1996-98). For the closers, both had regular season success, but Rivera’s postseason performances were ten times better than Hoffman.
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On Wednesday, Raines should finally hear his name announced as a Hall Of Famer. The seven-time All-Star may not have ever won a MVP, but he was one of the best outfielders of his generation.