The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame voting has been announced, and the sole member of the class of 2012 is Barry Larkin. Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell and Lee Smith were the only other players to garner more than 50 percent of the vote.
This leaves Tim Raines on the outside looking in again, and that is a travesty.
"Rock" Raines was one of the finest lead off hitters in MLB history. He completed his career with an excellent .385 on-base percentage, along with a career .294 batting average. His career Offensive WAR of 64.8 is 70th best all time. He's 51st all time in runs (1,571), 35th in walks (1,330) and fifth in stolen bases (808).
Plus he was solid fielder, posting the 19th-highest fielding percentage for a left fielder (.988).
Raines did make a couple mistakes in his career, however. The first was he played most of his career for the Montreal Expos. No doubt, if he had found his way onto a higher profile team earlier in his career, he'd be getting more attention.
His other big mistake was being an outstanding lead off hitter at the same time as Rickey Henderson, who was unquestionably the best ever. Rock spent his entire career playing second fiddle to Henderson. Sure, Raines led the National League in stolen bases four times and runs twice. But Henderson led the American League in steals 12 times and runs five times.
Raines made it to the postseason five times, mostly when he was well past his prime; Henderson went to eight postseasons and three World Series, two at the height of his powers, and just added to his own mythos by dominating on that stage too.
The fact that less than half of the BBWAA voters had Raines on their ballots speaks to the fundamental lack of comprehension that this group of people have for the game of baseball and the impact some of these players had. The Expos of the 80s were Rock Raines and Andre Dawson. It took Dawson years to earn his trip to the Hall. And now, once again, Raines is second fiddle, left behind and forgotten.
Raines should be in Cooperstown, with Dawson, and the fact that he has been left behind again is inexplicable and inexcusable.
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