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    ARTICLES — Raines of Terror

    © John Brattain

    One of my favourite memories of Tim Raines are when he was completely locked in his zone. He would go on month long tears where it was easy to feel sorry for the opposing battery. Before I headed to Baseball-Reference, I first tried to remember some clues that would help me locate them. My instincts told me that Raines tended to start and finish the season on fire.

    Sure enough, when I went through the game logs it was generally the case. At any rate, using BB-Ref and my own memory I cobbled together ten of his hottest runs. This isn’t a comprehensive list but most of these line up pretty well with what I remember--not so much the exact stats but more how he would totally dominate the opposition. While Raines was at his best with the Expos, he did have four terrific hot streaks … well, two hot streaks and a couple of spurts, most notably in early 1993 and late 1996.

    While endpoints have little usage as an analytical tool, they do have the utility of examining hot and cold streaks. Anyway, I did keep myself to a couple of basic ground rules: one, only one streak per season would be counted and two, the streaks had to be at least 25 games in length. I bent the rules a bit to document Raines’ final two spurts since they have a couple of memories included with them.

    First, the 10 ‘Raines of Terror’…


    Date GP BA OBP SLG R HR RBI SB CS
    Apr 15, 1981-May 17, 1981 30 .366 .470 .500 22 2 10 32 3
    Apr 3, 1984-May 7, 1984 28 .336 .432 .477 22 3 16 8 0
    Aug 17, 1985-Oct 5, 1985 42 .383 .484 .617 34 5 18 24 3
    Apr 24, 1986-May 24, 1986 27 .389 .484 .593 28 2 6 13 1
    May 24, 1987-Jun 27, 1987 30 .407 .478 .602 32 4 22 13 0
    Apr 23, 1989-May 31, 1989 32 .328 .438 .586 28 4 22 11 3
    May 10, 1991-Jun 14, 1991 34 .364 .461 .504 24 1 16 17 2
    Aug 24, 1992-Oct 1, 1992 31 .336 .403 .540 23 5 17 7 0
    Apr 6, 1993-Jun 12, 1993 22 .338 .453 .649 19 7 14 2 3
    Sep 4, 1996-Sep 29, 1996 22 .316 .433 .633 22 7 16 3 1


    What I remember … (with BB-Ref to jog my memory of course)


    Date                        GP    BA   OBP   SLG   R HR  RBI  SB  CS
    Apr 15, 1981-May 17, 1981 30 .366 .470 .500 22 2 10 32 3

    April 21, Phillies vs. Expos … Raines led off the game with an infield hit and promptly stole second, then third. In the sixth, he singles driving in a pair and again swipes second and third. He successfully did it off two different pitchers; Dick Ruthven in the first and this time Sparky Lyle was the victim. While he was stranded in the first, he came around to score that time. Raines went 4-for-5 with two doubles, runs scored and RBI and was 4-for-4 in swiping bases including third base twice. The Phillies were PWN3D by the “Rock.”


    Date GP BA OBP SLG R HR RBI SB CS
    Apr 3, 1984-May 7, 1984 28 .336 .432 .477 22 3 16 8 0

    April 6, the Expos are in Atlanta and Raines is in CF and batting third. Who was in left and batting leadoff then? None other than Pete Rose; Raines is more than up to the task this day slugging a double and home run scoring a run and driving in three others. He is 4-for-5 this day as well.


    Date GP BA OBP SLG R HR RBI SB CS
    Aug 17, 1985-Oct 5, 1985 42 .383 .484 .617 34 5 18 24 3

    The Expos are in Busch Stadium for their final series of the year in St. Louis from September 20-22. The Cardinals are leading the division by a couple of games over the Mets. The Expos are out of it but are in an excellent position to play spoiler. It was not to be as the Cardinals swept. Regardless, don’t blame Raines who reached in 10 of his 15 plate appearances and was a perfect 5-for-5 in stealing bases.


    Date GP BA OBP SLG R HR RBI SB CS
    Apr 24, 1986-May 24, 1986 27 .389 .484 .593 28 2 6 13 1


    Tim Raines had a 17 game hitting streak with seven doubles, two triples a HR, drew 13 walks and wasn’t caught stealing in nine tries. His batting line was a tidy .414/.506/.614 and not surprisingly, the Expos won 13 of those 17 contests.


    Date GP BA OBP SLG R HR RBI SB CS
    May 24, 1987-Jun 27, 1987 30 .407 .478 .602 32 4 22 13 0

    There really wasn’t one thing about this stretch that stood out. He opened the season on fire and the only thing I really remember was feeling that Raines was enjoying an MVP season and it was a shame it would not happen. I do recall being happy that when all was said and done Raines returned to the Expos. When he declined arbitration, I was certain he was a goner.


    Date GP BA OBP SLG R HR RBI SB CS
    Apr 23, 1989-May 31, 1989 32 .328 .438 .586 28 4 22 11 3

    Raines had an uncharacteristically slow start in ‘89; he hadn’t hit a home run, he wasn’t running but he was still getting on base frequently. I checked BB-Ref and noticed that he walked 15 times over his first 18 games and had an OBP of .382. I thought it was lower before I checked. Anyway, game 19 is when he really started to heat up going 3-for-6 against the Cardinals. I didn’t see that particular game but remember reading the box score and noticed that had he went yard, he would’ve hit for the cycle. It was the start of a ten-game winning streak and while Raines was tearing the cover off the ball, he was still drawing his walks.

    One inning of one game stands out: The Expos were 20-17 in mid-May, the Padres 18-21 and San Diego came into Stade Olympique for a three game set. I was hoping for an Expos sweep since the Jays were staggering and finally had canned Jimy Williams and Cito Gaston had taken his place. The Expos dropped the first two and I was hoping they could salvage a game and not fall back to .500 … unfortunately, they were facing Bruce Hurst. Les Expos scored in the first and were up 1-0; Raines lead off the third with a walks and Otis Nixon comes up. “Rock” promptly swipes second and Hurst wild pitches him to third--this is the start of a rally. Hurst whiffs Nixon, but no problem the “Big Cat” Andres Galarraga is up next. They battle but Hurst ends up with another ‘K.’ Next up: Hubie Brooks, next down: Hubie Brooks, Hurst struck out the side. Raines would walk three times and never scored and the Padres would erase a 3-0 lead and swept the Expos back to .500.

    Grrrr.


    Date GP BA OBP SLG R HR RBI SB CS
    May 10, 1991-Jun 14, 1991 34 .364 .461 .504 24 1 16 17 2

    Tim Raines, American Leaguer?

    It was pretty unnerving to see Raines wearing White Sox let me tell you. What I recall most about this is the game before he started his tear. David Wells was on the hill and threw his knee-buckling hook at will. Raines led off the game with a fly out. Boomer struck him out swinging the next two times up and Duane Ward did likewise in the ninth. Welcome to Toronto “Rock.” I was thrilled with Wells’ awesome start and was surprised Gaston didn’t let him pitch the ninth. The big lefty had given up three hits and a walk and struck out the side in the eighth around a Frank Thomas walk and an infield hit by Ozzie Guillen.


    Date GP BA OBP SLG R HR RBI SB CS
    Aug 24, 1992-Oct 1, 1992 31 .336 .403 .540 23 5 17 7 0

    I remember feeling relieved. I thought Raines was about done. From mid-June 1991 through late August 1992, he looked like a speed merchant and not much else. I checked the numbers and they were gruesome: .268/.358/.344 with 68 steals. The OBP while O.K. wasn’t Raines’ quality however, his knack for pilfering bases was still there. He wasn’t quite as prolific as he was in Montreal but picked his spots well and succeeded almost 90% of the time. As you can see from the numbers, he finished strong. The Jays were making their run to their first World Series title and wasn’t paying much attention to the White Sox. Toronto and Chicago played six games in late August and early September. Raines hit well at New Comiskey but not so well in Toronto--they split the six games.


    Date GP BA OBP SLG R HR RBI SB CS
    Apr 6, 1993-Jun 12, 1993 22 .338 .453 .649 19 7 14 2 3

    Raines tore a thumb ligament and was out six weeks. You’d never know it since the 22 game hot streak was before and right after the injury. While I was paying more attention to the Jays that year I remember a series in early June, (I can’t remember which one I attended which is odd, but I suspect it was the opener). It was like watching the Rock of old (except he didn‘t attempt any steals). He scored seven runs, homered twice, doubled and walked four times over the three games. It made for a tidy batting line of .600/.714/.1.300. Thanks for the flashback Tim.

    Of course, he wasn’t done … not by a long shot. He was a beast in the LCS versus Toronto, batting .444/.483/.556. Had the White Sox won he may have copped MVP honours (Wilson Alvarez and Frank Thomas also had terrific series although the Jays kept away from Thomas walking him 10 times).


    Date GP BA OBP SLG R HR RBI SB CS
    Sep 4, 1996-Sep 29, 1996 22 .316 .433 .633 22 7 16 3 1

    This time a hamstring injury brought “The Rock” down. However, by September Raines was letting the Yankees know he was ready to contribute in October with a torrid September that included seven HR. Of course, I remember in mid-September Jimmy Key shutting down his old mates with two hits and no walks over 8 IP and Tim Raines pair of three runs jacks off Paul Quantrill. It was a final …

    PWN3D!

    … against Toronto. Ah well.

    Thanks for the memories Rock--I hope to have yet one more in Cooperstown!