It's still early but Raines HOF chances tracking well

By Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network

It must an anxiety-filled time for Tim Raines.

We would imagine he has some butterflies in his stomach. Maybe his heart is beating just a bit more than it normally does. He must be doing a lot of thinking at his home in Arizona. Must be stressful.

The former Montreal Expos great wonders if Jack O’Connell of Baseball Writers of  America Association will call him Wednesday to tell him he’s been inducted into the fabled shrine in Cooperstown, N.Y. 

Wouldn’t that be something if that call was made.

It will be interesting to see the results of the voting by the BBWAA. Raines is in the picture because we see some hope as expressed in a tracking system by several people, who are keeping tabs on public revelations by some of the voters.

According to tracker Ryan Thibs, 115 voters (out of 143 with 10 years experience) have Raines on their ballots. That tabulation gives Raines over 80% of the votes with some 75% needed to get into Cooperstown. It’s all encouraging but what the non-public voters decide will seal Raines’ fate. 

Apparently, there are over 300 voters who have not gone public with their choices, meaning Raines’ voting percentage might go down below the 75% threshold. We hope not. 
Under Thibs’ tracking system, Ken Griffey has a success rating of 100% in the voting, Mike Piazza is over 90% and Jeff Bagwell is over 85%.

Raines was one of the game’s leading players in the 1980s and stealing 808 bases during his entire career that also included stops with the Chicago White Sox, New York  Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Florida Marlins and Oakland A’s. He also had one of the lowest caught-stealing rates. He was nabbed only 146 times.

Another interesting stat: Raines was tough to strike out with a reputation for putting the ball in play. He fanned only 966 times in 10,359 plate appearances. He scored 1,571 runs and collected 2,605 hits to go along with a .294 lifetime average.

So if Raines is elected this month, he will be wearing an Expos’ cap into Cooperstown in July, the third such player to do so, following in the steps of his close amigo Andre Dawson and Gary Carter.

Here’s hoping Raines won’t have to wait until next year, his final on the ballot. Let’s get it over with this year.  

Comment

Danny Gallagher

Danny was born in Ted Lindsay's hometown of Renfrew, Ont. but his roots are in nearby Douglas. He played 27 consecutive seasons of top-level amateur baseball in the senior ranks in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec and thrived on organizing events himself, the major one being the highly successful 1983 Canadian senior men's tournament in Sudbury. He began covering the Montreal Expos in 1988 when he joined the Montreal Daily News. Later, he was the Expos beat writer for the Ottawa Sun and Associated Press. He has written four baseball books, including Remembering the Montreal Expos, which he co-authored with Bill Young of Hudson, Que. Gallagher and Young are currently working on a book about the ill-fated 1994 Expos squad. Gallagher can be reached here: dannogallagher@rogers.com