Tim Raines finally got the call that he deserved. After 10 years of waiting, voters elected Raines to the HOF in January. On Saturday he will formally join the 252-player fraternity of Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Raines’ candidacy was a lightning rod for debate among stagnant baseball minds and those who value newer tools used to evaluate players. Much like Mike Mussina, his career lacked an easy to articulate narrative. He fell 395 hits shy of 3,000, ended his career with a .294 batting average, never won an MVP award, and wasn’t as preeminent a base stealer as his contemporary, Ricky Henderson (breaking news: no one ever has been). It also didn’t help that he played many of his best games in Montreal in the days before 24/7 sports coverage and the internet made it possible to keep a consistent eye on all the greats of the game.
Raines came to the plate more than 10,000 times in his MLB career. His most frequently faced pitcher was Fernando Valenzuela.
He faced Mike Mussina 41 times and slashed .257/.341/.257. Despite the low power numbers, Mussina struggled to get Raines out, walking him five times and only striking him out once. Here is the history of their encounters:
Mussina and Raines faced off once in the postseason, during the 1996 ALCS. Raines went one for five while hitting leadoff in Game 3. The Yankees won 5-3 and went on to win the series and the World Championship. Unlike Mussina, Raines won two World Series with the Yankees (1996 and ’98).
By the time Mussina joined the Yankees in 2001, Raines had rejoined the Expos for a brief 47 game stint that season. He later finished the 2001 season with Mussina’s old teammates in Baltimore where he played in the same outfield as his son Tim Raines Jr.
For his career, Raines slashed .294/.385/.425 while posting a bWAR of 69.1. During his peak years of 1981-1987, he slashed .310/.396/.448 while walking more than a hundred times than he struck out and stealing 504 bases. For his career, Raines stole 808 bases, while only getting caught 146 times.
Our friend Ryan Spaeder is a huge Raines fan and aggressively backed his HOF campaign. He commonly tweets great Raines tidbits. Here are a few.
Tim Raines had 29 career extra-inning stolen bases. He was NEVER caught stealing in extras.
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) May 3, 2017
Hall of Famer Tim Raines is the only player ever with more than two seasons with at least 50 XBH & 70 SB. He had FOUR straight from 1983-86.
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) January 18, 2017
Most career seasons batting .300+ with 70+ stolen bases
Billy Hamilton 6*
Tim Raines 4
Rickey Henderson 3*
Ty Cobb 3*
*Hall of Fame
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) January 12, 2017
Tim Raines is the only player in baseball history with at least 100 3B, 150 HR, & 600 SB.
He tallied 113 3B, 170 HR, & 808 SB.
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) December 30, 2016
Congrats to Tim Raines on his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.