Tim Raines Gets Little Love From Hall of Fame Again
The results from the Hall of Fame voting were released today, and there were a few surprises.
The biggest one for me was that second baseman Roberto Alomar fell short of induction. I don't know what else the voters wanted to see from Alomar. He was an elite player at the plate and in the field and could run the bases as well, and he played a position that has historically been low in impact hitters.
However, in the grand scheme of things that won't mean much. Roberto fell just a few votes short of induction on his first ballot, suggesting that he should eventually be enshrined at some point.
The one that bothers me a bit more is the relative lack of support for Tim Raines.
Raines wasn't nearly as close to induction, appearing on just over 30 percent of the ballots in his third year of eligibility. He has a long way to go to eventually reach the necessary 75 percent to be elected, which puzzles me.
Raines was an outstanding leadoff hitter during his peak years. He could hit for average, got on base with consistency and was a terror on the basepaths. While he didn't have much power, he did everything else you could want from a hitter.
And yet Raines isn't getting much attention from the baseball experts for some reason. Perhaps it was because he played in Montreal for much of his career and toiled on a lot of mediocre teams. He also finished with 2,605 hits, a few hundred short of what probably would have resulted in an automatic induction.
That shouldn't override his accomplishments in the majors though.
We're talking about a player that had a .294 career average, an on base percentage of .385 and an OPS+ of 123 (which is actually higher than that of 2010 inductee and former teammate Andre Dawson, who had far more power).
He also had a career stolen base percentage of 85 percent, an obscenely good number especially considering his number of attempts.
He lead the league in stolen bases four times, hitting once, on base percentage once and hits twice.
My last point will be a comparison to one of his contemporaries: Rickey Henderson, who is widely considered the best leadoff hitter of all time and a player who was elected in his first year of eligibility by appearing on almost 95 percent of the hall of fame ballots.
Henderson .279 BA/.401 OBP/.419 SLG/.127 OPS+, average of 56 steals over 25 seasons at an 81 percent clip
Raines .294/.385/.425 SLG/.123 OPS+, average of 35 steals over 23 seasons at an 85 percent clip
Was Ricky better? Clearly. He had a longer peak, took more walks, stole more frequently, flashed more power and made a bigger impact on playoff teams.
However, I don't think the gap is big enough that one of the players should be a no-doubt first ballot hall of famer while the other is barely sniffing induction.
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