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I won a batting title and hit .294 lifetime, and over the course of 23 years thatís a lot of at-bats to have a high batting average. Overall, I feel that I was as good of a hitter as I was a guy on the base paths. I think that kind of gets lost to a lot of people though, because there were guys who hit for a higher average than I did. But I feel that I was a guy who could do it all. My on-base percentage was pretty high, which is what gave me an opportunity to be so successful on the base paths. Thatís one thing about on-base percentage--it helps you to score runs. You canít steal first base.
[The Hall of Fame] would be meaningful to me, Iíll say that. When I started out, my main concern was to play as long as I could. You grow up dreaming of being a big league player, but you donít really understand what it takes to get there, or to stay there. Iím proud of having played for as long as I did, and I think I had a pretty good career. It would mean a lot to me to be given such an honor.
— Tim Raines on Tim Raines
COMPARISONS TO RICKEY HENDERSON
But being second to Rickey Henderson ... is no crime. Henderson is a first-ballot, no-question, inner-circle Hall of Famer. Raines isnít as cut-and-dried, but being one of the ten best left fielders in history gets you a plaque, regardless of in whose shadow you played.
— Joe Sheehan
But he seems to have surprisingly little traction with voters. Perhaps this is because Raines suffers by comparisons to Rickey Henderson, but this overlooks the fact that almost everyone suffers by comparisons to Rickey Henderson. Raines was a great on-base threat, one of the best base stealers of all-time and a durable, consistent force at the top of the lineup for more than two decades.
— Dayn Perry
He was one of the best leadoff hitters all-time, but he happened to be Rickey Henderson's contemporary, which overshadowed his accomplishments.
— Ken Davidoff
Raines was a great player. He's not going to be elected, mostly because he was overshadowed by Rickey Henderson and because one of his two key skills -- getting on base and scoring runs -- is undervalued by Hall of Fame voters.
— Rob Neyer
Tim Raines was not quite in Rickey Hendersonís class as a player, at least for as long as Henderson was at the top. Although the same can be said about every player of the Henderson/Raines mold...His hit totals seem low, but when you take into account his combination of getting on base, stealing bases, and scoring runs, the result is a lead-off man better than anyone ever save for Rickey Henderson. Tim Raines is very much a Hall of Famer, and deserves to be elected on the first ballot.
Ask anyone born after the 1960s who the best leadoff hitter is and they likely will answer Rickey Henderson. Raines is the answer when asked: "And who's next?" We don't consider Wade Boggs and his 24 career steals in 18 seasons, the prototypical leadoff hitter. Boggs collected 3,000 hits. He's in.
— Bob Elliott
COMPARISONS TO TONY GWYNN
He was better than Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, and Kirby Puckett. These three were elected their first time on the ballot this decade. "Rock" should join them.
After a brush with cocaine early in his career ó which he handled with far greater strength and public honesty than any player has yet handled his steroid use, it should be noted ó he matured into a universally respected leader.
— Tim Marchman
Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. were easily elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame two weeks ago. It was open and shut for both. But here's the thing:
— Neate Sager
Yes, Tony Gwynn was a great player. But if you can find a dime's difference between Gwynn and Raines, you are stretching. Raines should be every bit as much the no-questions-asked Hall of Famer as Gwynn.
— Dan McLaughlin
COMPARISONS TO LOU BROCK
Before Henderson came along and revolutionized the leadoff position (power plus speed plus unflinching bat control and discipline equals dominance), consensus said the greatest top-of-the-order hitter was Lou Brock, the legendary Cardinals speedster. When Brock was eligible for enshrinement in 1985, there was little debate. He was elected with 79.75 percent of the vote -- and rightfully so. Brock was certainly Hall of Fame worthy.
Raines was better than Brock.
— Jeff Pearlman
Further, you could argue that Raines was a better base stealer. Brock had 938 steals ó 120 more than Raines ó but he was caught 161 times MORE than Raines. Thatís not even close. Like I said in another post, you could argue pretty convincingly that Raines was the best base stealer of all time.
But letís not get too far away from the point. There may be many ways to show that Raines was a better player than Brock, but none of them will change two simple facts:
1. Brock had 3,000 hits; Raines does not.
2. Brock was the all-time stolen base leader when he was inducted. Raines is not.
— Joe Posnanski
EVALUATING HIS NUMBERS
Rainesí candidacy stems from a combination of three things: (a) the electricity he generated in his prime, with his dazzling speed and athleticism. Tim Raines could take over a game, as his comeback from collusion-driven contract limbo and his bravura performance at the 1987 All-Star Game showed; (b)...
— Jay Jaffe
[Raines] ranks 10th among left-fielders and 87th overall, which doesn't sound impressive until you consider that the Hall contains just shy of 200 non-Negro League players...
— Jay Jaffe
By our list, he's a no-brainer Hall of Famer; the only player ranked higher than Raines rejected by the voters was Dick Allen, who carried a lot more baggage than Raines will. One thing to add about Raines: he was "clutchy." He batted .294 overall, but .303 with runners in scoring position (batters usually do worse with RISP because managers save their best pitchers in those situations) and .315 in "late and close" situations.
— Dave Studeman
Six holdovers have over 300 Win Shares, Mark McGwire with 342, Andre Dawson, 340, Bert Blyleven, 339, Dave Parker, 327, Alan Trammell 318 and Harold Baines with 307. The only newcomer on the list with over 300 Win Shares is Tim Raines with 390... The last 12 players elected by the Baseball Writers have averaged 354 Win Shares, a figure exceeded by only Raines on the ballot this year.
— Bill Gilbert
Raines had a seven season peak that was quite dominant, something hall of fame voters like to see. The eight seasons that followed were also very solid, and allowed Raines to reach the impressive career numbers... His blend of dominance and longevity make him a solid hall of fame case.
— Mike Darowski
From 1981-1987, he was neck and neck with Mike Schmidt for best ballplayer in the National League... Standing just 5'8, Tim Raines was one of the most complete ball players of all time. He ranks with Rickey Henderson as the best leadoff man in history. Tim Raines was a star with the bat, on the bases and in the field and deserves to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
— Brian Joura
Time has revealed Raines' skill set to be a historically rare one; it's sobering to imagine how many runs he could score for a strong contemporary team hitting in smaller parks and an inflated offensive environment.
The two contemporaries are probably the greatest leadoff men of all time; their combination of high on-base percentage and high stolen-base totals has unexpectedly disappeared from the game. Raines scored 100 runs six times, and did so in front of some mediocre offences. In 1983, he scored a league leading 133 runs with Bryan "Twig" Little hitting behind him most of the year -- a feat bordering on the eerie.
In other words, it would be absurd to leave Raines out of the Hall.
— Colby Cosh
His mandate was to get on base any way possible. Patient as he was, Raines drew 1,330 bases on balls, scored 1,571 runs, stole 808 bags, batted an impressive .294, collected 2,605 hits and drove in 980 runs to go with a very credible .988 fielding percentage.
— Danny Gallagher
I think heís representative of a go-go era and ought to be the next Expo... to be in the Hall of Fame.
— Jeff Blair
The most interesting player debuting on the ballot this year and the only one who warrants serious consideration... He drove in nearly a thousand runs, which is pretty good for a guy who was a leadoff hitter much of his career. But what really stands out is the run total. Raines scored 1,571 runs and only three eligible players who scored more are not in the Hall. I don't understand why the run total is so undervalued. It is the only statistic that matters in the outcome of a game yet all the glory goes to the batter who drove the runner the final 90 feet home rather than the man who got himself in scoring position in the first place.
— Jim Caple
Nobody in history is really similar to Tim Raines. Thatís a point in his favor.
— Justin Zeth
With Raines, I think, people underestimate his prime. We did not view him as a truly great player at his best. But that was a mistake. He was great. You can look at three brilliant seasons ó 1985-87 ó when he could have won the MVP. This is where perception crushes reality. He did not get a single first place MVP vote ANY of those years. If he had won the MVP all three of those years (as Bill James believes he should have, for instance), Raines would be a slam-dunk Hall of Famer and viewed in the mainstream as one of the greatest players ever. But the context of the time killed him.
— Joe Posnanski
Consider that Raines ranks fifth all-time in stolen bases with 806 thefts, and heís also got the highest stolen-base percentage of all-time, beating out the likes of Ricky Henderson and Ty Cobb. Throw in his nifty career on-base percentage of .385, his 2,605 hits (68th all-time), his 1,330 walks (33rd all-time), and his 1,571 runs scored (46th all-time), and itís clear that Raines has the kind of skill set that should have a great deal of appeal right now. Heís a guy that got on base often, stole lots of bases, stole them at a high rate of success, and scored oodles of runs. For the traditionalist mindsetóand that describes the healthy majority of the Baseball Writers Association of Americaóa player like Raines should be the exemplar of the way the game is supposed to be played. Voting for Raines would also be, on some level, a rebuke of the excesses of the power era.
— Dayn Perry