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TIM RAINES’ HALL OF FAME CASE by Jonah Keri
From 1981 through 1990 with the Expos, Raines hit .302 and posted a .391 on-base percentage (second-best in the NL). During that time he drew 769 walks, just 17 behind the firstplace Dale Murphy among National League players in those 10 seasons. Raines stole a league-leading 626 bases, more than Cardinals speedster Vince Coleman, and nearly twice as many as the number-three player on the list, Coleman’s teammate Ozzie Smith. Raines’ 926 runs scored ranked first, as did his 81 triples. His 273 doubles placed him third, behind only longtime teammates Tim Wallach and Andre Dawson. And by Wins Above Replacement, Raines was number one. In other words, the best player in the entire National League from 1981 through 1990—10 full seasons—was Tim Raines.
Excerpted from Up, Up, and Away: the Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Cray Business of Baseball, and the Ill-Fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos. Copyright (c) 2014 by Jonah Keri. Published by Random House Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved. www.randomhouse.ca
Raines is often slighted because he doesn't measure up to Rickey Henderson, his direct contemporary, a 2009 Hall of Fame inductee who has been widely hailed as the best leadoff hitter of all time. Raines doesn't have 3,000 hits like Henderson, his 808 stolen bases rank "only" fifth all time, and while his 84.7 percent success rate is the best among thieves with more than 300 attempts (better than Henderson's 80.8 percent), that skill doesn't resonate in today's power-saturated age, limiting the impression of his all-around ability.
Raines belongs in Hall by ESPN
Raines, of course, did many things well on the diamond, none better than stealing bases, where he might have been the best base stealer in the game's history. Yes, Henderson had 1,406 steals to Raines' 808, but those extra steals came at a higher cost: Henderson was caught more than twice as many times as Raines, posting an 81 percent success rate compared to Raines' 85 percent.
Why Tim Raines Should have been Elected on the First Ballot by Craig R. Wright
Tim Raines amassed 390 win shares in his career, and that is a very special accomplishment. Every player who has amassed 365 win shares in his career and who is eligible for the Hall of Fame is in there - except now for Tim Raines.
The Cooperstown Case for Tim Raines by The Hardball Times
With Raines, though, it shouldn't make any difference if you prefer peak or if you prefer career. Either way, he is highly qualified for Cooperstown.