By Bob Elliott
All afternoon the award-winning MLB Network was showing Hall of Fame projections for the class of 2016.
Tim Raines was named on 79.5% of the Baseball Writers of America Association public votes compiled by Ryan Thibodaux on his HoF Vote Tracker.
Then, Raines was at 78.3%, a nice enough cushion over the required 75% vote.
And then 78.1 and next 75.6% showed on the screen beside his name.
As he watched the percentage fluxuate he answered calls from friends and high school chums in Florida plus rom minor leaguers in the Blue Jays farm system where Raines works as a roving minor league iinstructor.
“People were calling and saying ‘Congraulations I’ll be there in Cooperstown, I can’t wait,’ I mean a lot of people,” said Raines from Glendale, Az. where he is recovering from hip surgery.
Yet, when Jeff Idelson, president of the Hall of Fame, introduced the class of 2016 consisted of Ken Griffey and Mike Piazza.
Jeff Bagwell had 71.6% of the vote, while Raines checked in at 69.8%.
Short. Cancel those plans for his friends to head to upstate New York.
Who were the Jays farmhands who called with their well-meaning congrats?
Raines gave that giggle which we first first in 1979 and said “no, no, no, I’m not getting anyone in trouble. I’m not saying any names.
“They kind of jumped the gun. It was friends who phoned, not guys I played with. We know what happened but they didn’t,” said Raines. “I knew at 3 o’clock when they had not called that I wasn’t elected.”
So, it’s a class of two -- Ken Griffey and Mike Piazza -- making nine players elected the previous three years after zero players were elected in 2013.
“I fell short, but it was encouraging,” said Raines. “I was 23 votes shy. You can only get so close and be so far away.”
Raines also heard from two other members of the Expos I-95 outfield, who both understood the difference between projections and final results.
Warren Cromartie sent a text which read “next year is our year.”
Hall of Famer Andre Dawson sent one which read “we’re almost there homey.”
“Andre called yesterday and told me that it probably wasn’t happening because when you win they tell you two months in advance,” Raines said.
Ah, I didn’t send my ballot in until the week before Christmas.
Raines laughed and said “oh well, maybe Andre was trying to make me feel good.”
And come next January Raines should feel good. The majority of players who received at least 50% of the vote eventually elected. The exceptions are Gil Hodges and Jack Morris.
Bagwell will be in his fifth year and Raines in his his 10th and final year.