Whaddayou Mean Tim Raines Isn’t In The Hall Of Fame?!?

While I was making guacamole for my work holiday party, one of my fellow editors said I should write about Tim Raines and the Hall of Fame. Let me put it this way: I don’t have a flippin’ clue why “Rock” Raines isn’t in the Hall.

I also feel like I’m not sure I have much to contribute to the argument without aping the 15,000 other articles on the subject. That is partially because I saw very little of Raines. His peak years came before I got into baseball.

How has Raines only received a maximum Hall ballot of 55 percent in his eight years of eligibility? Are all the uptight BBWAA voters who deny alleged steroid users access to a museum about baseball also nit-picking Raines’s use of cocaine? I mean, c’mon, he slid headfirst in order not to destroy the stash vial he kept in his back pocket (or so the urban myth goes). Shouldn’t he be rewarded for his ingenuity? Or is it because he only has 2,605 hits? Hasn’t the sabermetric community effectively educated voters that clinging to traditional stat milestones is an antiquated approach? It all becomes so ridiculously clear how stupid his omission from Cooperstown is when you follow Ace of MLB Stats on Twitter. So, with that, I’ll let those cats make the strongest of arguments why Raines should already be enshrined in the Hall.

I’ll start you with one right down the middle, so you don’t miss the point.

Okay, how about another meatball?

Are you starting to get the picture that he’s showing you comparisons with a fair number of players who are in Cooperstown? Tom Brown and Pete Browning aren’t in, but Cobb and Hamilton sure are. There are plenty more players with bronze busts whom Raines equals or betters. With no intention of disparaging Lou Brock, he is a great comparison player.

Just for good measure, here’s how Raines stacks up to a bunch of Hall of Famers, including Brock:

If this dude hasn’t convinced you yet, how about one last one?

Now, I know that Raines doesn’t quite have the numbers, category-for-category, that Rickey Henderson does, but he’s clearly the  second-best leadoff hitter of the era. Raines far outclasses Henderson in stolen-base efficiency at 84.7 percent to Rickey’s 80.8 percent. I’m not saying that alone should tip a voter off the fence, but it is just another good reason to put a check in the box next to Rock’s name on the ballot.

One last thing! Among the top 10 left fielders in JAWS, Raines ranks eighth. Out of those 10 names, his is one of only three not in the Hall of Fame. The other two? Pete Rose and Barry Bonds, both guys who, by the merits of their playing careers, are deserving of enshrinement, but haven’t gotten in for other reasons. Well, at least we know Rose is never getting in. Seems like a no-brainer. I wonder how this year’s voters are feeling?

Initial returns on ballots made public are looking good, as Raines is sitting around 80 percent. This doesn’t guarantee anything, but it’s cause to be hopeful. If the trend continues and he gets in this year — his second-to-last year of eligibility — I hope his acceptance speech starts with, “What took you guys so long?!?”

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