Raines has one HOF live left, one more than a cat

Raines happy with vote jump despite missing hall of fame

By Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network

When one 1 p.m. arrived Wednesday Eastern time (10 a.m. Arizona time where he resides), Tim Raines hadn’t received the call he expected.

He then knew he wasn’t elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown but he’s very grateful that he’s edging closer. The Montreal Expos’ great fell short of induction with members of  the Baseball Writers Association of America giving him almost 70% of the votes, a hike of almost 15% over last year’s 55%.

“It wasn’t a given that I would get in,’’ Raines told this writer from Glendale, Az. “The fact that I got the biggest jump in voting in my career, that was very encouraging more than disappointing. An extra 23 votes and I would’ve been in. Knowing that, how much I was increased, it makes me feel good. It really does.

“The cool thing is that the Hall of Fame people called me a week ago and said I had a slight chance of getting in. They told me if I got in that I would have to jump on a plane and go to New York (for a news conference). That call didn’t mean I was getting in but that a call (Wednesday) might be coming.’’

When the 1 Eastern time deadline passed, Raines was getting umpteen number of phone calls and text messages from people wondering if he had been elected. Then when the 6 o’clock time came along after the results were made public, he was besieged by more phone calls and text messages offering sympathy. Emails? Hardly any.

“The phone has been ringing off the hook. I had one call offering congratulations after 1 o’clock but I knew then I wasn’t in,’’ Raines said, chuckling. “When 1 o’clock comes and there is no call, you know you’re not in. I knew before everyone else. I’ve had a lot of calls from friends, players and also people in the Blue Jays’ organization.’’

Raines, a roving outfield and base-running instructor with the Blue Jays, is touched by the show of support he has received. He will be back on the ballot next season for the 10th and last time and is confident he will probably get elected.

“One more year, it’s my last life,’’ Raines said, laughing. “ A cat has nine lives so that will be my last life but I’m in the best position right now as far as votes go.’’