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.