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The first baseball glove I remember having was a small black one that I used from age eight to age twelve or so. It was black and had a red tag on the side that said “Signature Series.” The signature inside my glove was that of Tim Raines. It was in gold colored cursive and didn’t just say his name, but included his nickname: Tim “Rock” Raines. It wasn’t until just recently that I realized how good a player my first glove’s namesake was.

Rock had a .294/.385/.425/.810/123+ line for his career and led the league in steals four times, runs twice, and average and on base percentage once. He is fifth on the all time steals list with 808 and owns a fantastic SB% of about 85% (84.6960 to be more exact). His wOBA is a solid .374 and his wRC+ is also solid at 137.

For my fellow WAR Hawks out there (can we make this a real term, people?), Raines ranks 81st all time with 64.9 Wins Above Replacement. That puts him ahead of 82 Hall of Fame players, which is incredibly impressive considering his -105 position adjustment. Basically, Raines was so valuable because he did the getting-on-base thing before it was en vogue (suck it, Jim Rice). Raines is 41st all time in Times on Base with 3,977, ahead of guys like Tony Gwynn, Nap Lajoie, Lou Brock, Mike Schmidt, Richie Ashburn, Roberto Alomar, Billy Williams, and Eddie Mathews.

Tim Raines was a player who played at a high level for a long time and he should be rewarded for it. He did the best thing a player can do: avoid making outs. He did that for a long time and should be rewarded for that with a plaque in Cooperstown.

7 Responses to “The Case for Cooperstown: Tim Raines”

  1. I blame this all on Rickey Henderson. If Henderson wasn’t so ridiculously awesome for so long (and yet still underrated (IMHO), Raines would have been appreciated more for what he did. Like your first glove was Tim Raines, my first (and only) bobblehead was of Tim Raines. I went to an Expos game and there were a limited amount available and I had one of the lucky tickets. I sold it for $50 Canadian and drank giant (I think 32 oz.) Molson Export’s for free all game. Good times.  (Quote)

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  2. Tim Raines was a god, according to the baseball writers of the 1980′s and beyond. It’s amazing that that Raines was not a first ballot, no doubt about it, HOF inductee. The politics of the HOF is getting to be grotesque, both for some that go in and others that are left out. When the apologists manage to get Bonds, Clemens, and their sorry ilk into the HOF, I’ll stop, at the very least, reading about the sport…  (Quote)

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    Matt Imbrogno Reply:

    Why? Exclusions of Bonds and Clemens would be just as political as leaving Raines, Blyleven, etc. out of the Hall.  (Quote)

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    Kevin Ocala, Fl Reply:

    Matt, I can’t see the connection. Exclusion of Bonds, Clemens, et al is a repudiation of the Steroid Era and has no linkage to Blyleven and Friends. Before anyone starts wailing their “innocent until proven guilty” drivel, it should be pointed out that is for criminal law not HOF considerations. Bonds and Clemens (and others), IMHO, were pretty much a lock for the Hall had they retired at age 33-34. What a shame…..  (Quote)

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    Matt Imbrogno Reply:

    And they’re still locks for the HOF. They were not the only players on steroids and punishing them for the misgivings of an entire era is political.  (Quote)

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    Kevin Ocala, Fl Reply:

    What about “integrity of the game”? What about the pressure to take steroids so that a player can keep a job? What about the message that pours down to HS athletes to take steroids or your else…..These questions aren’t limited to baseball of course, and the steroid issue goes back to the sixties, at least, in sports. I’ve been weight training for over thirty years and I know more about the subject than “Bud Light” Selig. What burns me up about steroids in baseball is that comparing players of the last 25-30 years v. the players of the Ken Burns “Sepia Era” is you can’t. When the younger/ casual fan looks at the record books it is impossible to understand what their seeing. Appreciation of past players is part of the joy of sports, IMHO. Sports in general have become a charade, and it reflects a lack of integrity of our culture. Sorry for the rant, I’m just sick of the rationlizing that is shoved down the public’s collective throats by the spin masters.  (Quote)

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    Matt Imbrogno Reply:

    If we’re going to punish players for the era in which they played, then no one should be in. Players in the mid-20th century were pumping amphetamines and what not; players in the late 19th century played essentially an entirely different game; and players from the turn of the century to 1946 didn’t play against full competition. The supposed “integrity of the game” has essentially never existed.  (Quote)

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