30 important dates about No. 30, HOFer Tim Raines

 Tim Raines played 23 seasons on his way to Cooperstown.

Tim Raines played 23 seasons on his way to Cooperstown.

By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network

Some 30 facts you may or may have not known about No. 30 Tim Raines the latest Montreal Expo to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

1. Sept. 16, 1959
Lew Burdette pitched a complete game victory for the Milwaukee Braves over the San Francisco Giants before 22,721 fans at Seals Stadium in San Francisco. Burdette allowed four singles and a double to Felipe Alou, while Sam Jones started for the Giants and gave up run-scoring singles to Del Crandall and future Hall of Famer Enos Slaughter.

Suiting up for the Braves were 3B Eddie Mathews and RF Hank Aaron, while the Giants had 1B Willie McCovey, CF Willie Mays and LF Orlando Cepeda.

The same day in Sanford, Fla., Tim Raines was born the fifth of five sons to Ned and Florence Raines. Ned was a semi-pro player in the Sanford area and Raines grew up in an athletic and competitive household of six children. A seventh died at the age of 4 when she was hit by a car. Raines was one of five boys, and in one local all-star game, the entire infield for one team consisted of the Raines brothers: Levi at first, Sam at second, Ned III at the hot corner, and Tim at shortstop.

Ned thought that his namesake would make the majors before Tim did. Ned III played in the San Francisco Giants’ system, but never made the major leagues.

Raines chose baseball over football and signed with the Expos after he graduated from high school when they chose him in the fifth round of the 1977 amateur draft.

2. Sept. 11, 1979.
The Hall of Famer made his debut as a September call-up pinch running for future Hall of Famer Gary Carter, who led off the seventh with a single. Ellis Valentine bounced into a double play with the Expos leading the Chicago Cubs 7-2. The Expos won 8-6 before 33,910.

Raines batted .290 at double-A Memphis with five home runs, 59 steals (second in the Southern League), with 104 runs scored. 

3. Sept. 15, 1979
Now, the game was on the line: St. Louis Cardinals reliever Pete Vuckovich led off by walking future Hall of Famer Tony Perez and Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams inserted Raines into the lineup. Then, Williams asked Carter to bunt Raines to second, which he did. The wheels turned as Ken Boyer had Ellis Valentine walked intentionally.

With Larry Parrish at the plate, Raines stole third base -- his first stolen base in the majors. However, Raines remained there as Parrish bounced to third and Rodney Scott popped up. Off to extras they went. 

Scott was the hero in the 11th when he singled to right facing Mark Littell to bring home Carter, who like Valentine had opened the inning with singles off Will McEnaney. 

4. Sept. 22, 1979.
The Hall of Famer scored his first run after pinch running for Rusty Staub, who was walked by Philadelphia Phillies reliever Tug McGraw. Two batters later, Parrish doubled to right field scoring Raines for the first run of his career as the Expos won 8-2 before 35,186 fans at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.

Raines appeared in six games for the Expos as a pinch-runner in 1979 and stole two bases without getting thrown out. He maintained his rookie eligibility status.

5. July 2, 1980. 
Need a play to exemplify what had Expos scouts excited about the speedster. Playing for the triple-A Denver Bears, Raines hit a liner over the centre fielder’s head which hit the 420-foot sign and kicked high into the air at Mile High Stadium. Raines circled the bases in Cool Papa Bell like speed. 

“My foot hit second as the ball came off the wall to the fielder,” Raines told legendary Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post. “As I crossed home plate (with an inside-the-park-homer), I looked over my shoulder and the relay man had just caught the ball.”

Line drive off the centre field wall, back to the fielder, no bad hops, nobody falls down, no bobbles of the ball and you cross the plate standing up while the ball is still 200 feet away from home?

“Yes.”

That’s impossible.

“That’s what they said,” Raines said.

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6. July 25, 1980.
Look up baseball-reference.com and you may think that Raines’ first major-league at-bat came May 28 ... which technically it did. However, the game was a completion of a May 28 game which was suspended in the top of the 11th ... and completed Aug. 8 when Cliff Johnson hit a grand slam off Dale Murray in the 14th. Raines pinch hit for Bill Almon (on Aug. 8) and flew out to left against Dick Tidrow in his first official at-bat. He entered the game playing second.

Raines didn’t have his first at-bat until a Friday, July 25 night at Olympic Stadium. President John McHale and manager Dick Williams had seen enough of Tony Bernazard at shortstop, filling in for injured Chris Speier. So, Rodney Scott moved from second to short and Raines took over at second facing Nolan Ryan.  

1. Ron LeFlore LF
2. Rodney Scott SS
3. Tim Raines 2B
4. Andre Dawson CF
5. Ellis Valentine RF
6. Warren Cromartie 1B
7. Gary Carter C
8. Larry Parrish 3B
9. Scott Sanderson P

Raines took a 3-2 pitch which he thought was ball four, but plate ump Paul Runge called strike three and according to Raines told him to “sit down Rook.” Raines singled to right off Astros reliever Bert Roberge in the sixth, stole second and scored on an Andre Dawson double.

Facing Ryan he struck out looking, forced Ron LeFlore at second on a ground ball and reached on an error by third baseman Enos Cabell going 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in a 9-8 loss as the Astros scored seven times off Steve Rogers, who gave up a homer to Terry Puhl (Melville, Sask.), Fred Norman, who allowed a single to Jose Cruz and Elias Sosa, who gave up singles to Jeffrey Leonard, Enos Cabell, a double to Alan Ashby and walked Joe Morgan and Woodie Fryman, who retired the final outs.  

Facing Ken Forsch, Raines bounced out, flew out, grounded out and lined out against Forsch and was 0-for-5, walking to open the 12th and scored when Frank LaCorte walked Larry Parrish to force in Raines for a 2-1 win.  

Going against Joe Niekro, he walked and flew out, then was 0-for-2 with two walks as the Astros beat Montreal 6-3 before 41,107 fans. So he was 1-for-11 against Ryan, Forsch and Niekro.

Batting eighth against the Cincinnati Reds Mike LaCoss, Raines was hitless in three at-bats in a 3-2 loss to the Reds in the first game of the doubleheader. Chris Speier returned to short in the nitecap, a 5-4 Expos win, Scott returned to second base. 

After going 1-for-14 (.071) with a double, three walks, three strikeouts and going 3-for-3 in stolen base attempts in four games, Raines was demoted to triple-A Denver.

7. Sept. 5, 1980
Raines was promoted to the Expos from triple-A Denver. His Bears compiled a 92-44 record winning the division by 21½ games. Raines won the league batting title with a .3543 batting average, .0002 points ahead of Orlando Gonzales of the Oklahoma City 89ers. He also tied for the league lead in triples and set a league record for stolen bases with 77. Raines won the American Association Rookie of the Year award and was The Sporting News’ 1980 Minor League Player of the Year.

8. April 9, 1981.
On opening day of the season manager Dick Williams pencilled in Raines as his lead-off hitter. Never mind that in 27 career games he was 1-for-20 (.050) with five steals, six walks and three strikeouts. 

The Expos didn’t make an attempt to sign Ron LeFlore, who stole 97 times in 1980. Raines made the move from second base to left field, easing Expos executives fears about his arm when he made a strong throw one day at Vero Beach. 

Pirates RHP Jim Bibby threw the first pitch at 12:54 on a Thursday afternoon to Raines before 40,332 at Three Rivers Stadium. Raines walked and on the first pitch to Rodney Scott he was gone ... Steve Nicosia’s throw hit Raines in the right shoulder blade and kicked into short right field as all-star Dave Parker came in to pick up the ball.

Raines did his pop up slide, broke for third and third base coach Ozzie Virgil waved him home. Raines scored standing. I remember looking at Hall of Fame scribe Michael Farber of the Montreal Gazette and we both went “Wow!” or “Holy crap!”

The Expos led 1-0 on a Raines walk and he had scored from first on a steal? 

As the great Zotique Laframmboise, watching on TV in Shawville, Que., said later: “Me, I never seen nothing like that.”

“In his prime, Mickey Mantle got to first base in 3.9 seconds batting right-handed and 3.75-3.8 seconds batting left-handed,” manager Dick Williams said. “If a right-hander can get to first in 4.2 seconds, you say he has decent speed. The other day, we clocked Raines to first in 3.57 from the right side. If that’s not the record, I don’t know what is. Of course, left-handed he’s in the 3.4s.”

9. May 1, 1981.
Working at the Ottawa Citizen we had an out-STAND-ing boss in Graham Parley. He asked me to cover the Expos with game stories, notes and write features as well. Graham was a hyper boss ... when the Expos were holding onto the lead he would either turn off the TV or radio pace and wait. Then, he’d turn the station on again to hear Dave Van Horne and Hall of Famer Duke Snider continue with their description. We never saw him do it -- but that’s what he told us. We always wondered what would happen when he tuned in if he re-joined during a commercial.

In an effort to write about Raines -- who had a successful first month -- it was suggested we set up a home interview at his downtown apartment. The photographer took pictures of he and his wife and we’d make sure he got copies of the pictures. Raines, an agreeable sort, agreed. And he and Virginia sat in their apartment as Tim Raines, Jr. scampered around the place. Just 20 months old, he slid head first into a coffee table and couch. Jumped up. Spread his hands with the safe sign and said “just like dad.”

We wrote the feature, sent it in and Graham, a layout genius, was all set. One problem. The game would not end. Now, in Toronto in 1987 we had deadlines at 11 PM, 12:30 AM and 2 AM. In Ottawa we had to have copy in by 6 AM -- except on Friday nights when it was 12:30 AM. Graham never bothered his writers in the field but on this night he called the Olympic Stadium press box. 

(It wasn’t like an editor who called one night asking when the game would be over.

“Want me to go down, sneak into the dugout and ask Buck Rodgers to squeeze in a run?”

“Yeah, would you mind?” he asked.

“Sure, I’ll never be allowed into the park again.”)

On this night with one out in the bottom of the 13th, Raines homered off reliever Bobby Castillo to give the Expos a 9-8 win ending a four-hour, 18-minute game. Looking up to see how much time I had to write I noticed the O’Keefe clock was straight up midnight and quickly wrote: 

“On the stroke of midnight when rookie of the year dreams turn into pumpkins, Tim Raines hit his first major-league home run to give the Montreal Expos a 9-8, 13-inning win Friday night.”

Graham was a happy man: his Raines feature with great art of the family ran on the section front, alongside a game story where the hero was on Raines.  

10. May 4, 1981.
The Dodgers left town after splitting four games. Raines won the opener with his walk-off homer, although no one called it that and scored from first on Rodney Scott’s one-hop single to right in the finale.

He also stole three bases (including second and third on consecutive pitches), Saturday and Sunday had four hits, stole another base and make a sliding catch in left. With 26 steals in 24 games he was running on a two-out, 3-2 pitch, as Scott singled directly at charging Rick Monday. Monday fumbled the ball for instant and then fired home. Raines scored standing.

Raines finished second in rookie-of-the-year voting to Fernando Valenzuela.

 Raines with Hall of Famer Andre Dawson

Raines with Hall of Famer Andre Dawson

11. Aug. 1, 1982.
Whitey Herzog’s St. Louis Cardinals were at Olympic Stadium for an important game as the Expos trailed the first-place Philadelphia Phillies and the Cards. Raines did not start the game, but entered as part of a double switch by manager Jim Fanning. Reliever Jeff Reardon replaced Dan Schatzeder, while Raines took over for Warren Cromartie in the seventh with Montreal trailing 4-2.

Bryan Little singled off Joaquin Andujar, reached second on an error and moved to third on a Raines single. Herzog, also on his way to Cooperstown, brought in Jeff Lahti to face Jerry White. Raines stole second and White tripled to right tying the game. Herzog turned to lefty Jim Kaat to face Al Oliver, who singled to right scoring Dan Norman with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.

Among the 51,353 at the Olympic Stadium where Alec Keri and his seven-year-old grandson Jonah. While Raines dazzled with speed and impressed voters with his power, he would not have been standing on the stage at Cooperstown without the help of Keri, who pushed, lobbied and rooted for his boyhood hero from his hometown to get in on his final time on the ballot.

And when the time came Raines gained 86% of the vote in January of 2017 and was inducted in July. And Keri was front and centre. The rainmaker organized a celebration party with sponsorship from the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox, the Washington Nationals and the Toronto Blue Jays sharing the tab. 

And on the Sunday, Raines was inducted with Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Pudge Rodriguez, John Schuerholz and Bud Selig.  

12. Oct. 3, 1982
Raines had a decent second year, but the sad part about his sophomore jinx was that it might have been may self-inflicted. Again Raines earned All-Star honours -- starting before a home town crowd at Olympic Stadium. He led the league in stolen bases for the second year in a row (78) and was eighth in the National League in hits (179). His average dropped to .277 despite having more than twice as many at-bats. 

Raines blamed his diminished play on personal difficulties, including a miscarriage by his wife and the death of a favorite uncle but the early 1980s was a time of extensive drug use among major-league players. In order to fit in, Raines began using cocaine and eventually was hooked.

Raines made the right decisions and got in with the right person after the 1982 season ended. He went into drug rehabilitation and forged a strong relationship with teammate Andre Dawson, who was able to keep Raines on the straight and narrow. 

13. Oct. 2, 1983
Raines came off rehab to rebound to an excellent season leading the league in steals again, with a career-high 90, as well as in runs scored, with 133. His batting average improved to .298, and he was fourth in the league with a .393 on-base percentage. He drove in 71 runs, making him the first player in the NL to drive in 70 runs and steal 70 bases in the same season. He also made his third straight All-Star team starting and hitting second at Comiskey Park.

14. April 7, 1986. 
Eight Expos seated in aisle H at sold-out Fox Theatre in Atlanta -- an off night -- to see Wrestlemania II on closed-circuit TV along with Hubie Brooks, Vance Law, Joe Hesketh, Al Newman, Dann Bilardello, Tom Nieto, Jay Tibbs and Raines. Regulars and back-ups, infielders and outfielders, blacks and whites, big salaries and small salaries ... all kinds were there. A wrasslin’ fan a row in front recognized the Expos players and asked Hesketh which one was Raines? Hesketh pointed to Brooks.  

“He was looking down the end of the row all night at Hubie thinking he was Raines. He said he didn’t like him (Raines) because he was a lawyer for the Mets and a Mets’ fan and the two homers by Raines had knocked the Mets out of the race on the last weekend of the season last year.”

Raines put together excellent back-to--back seasons in 1984-85. He hit over .300 (.309) for the first time over a full season (160 games) in 1984. He made it 4-for-4 in both All-Star game appearances and stolen base crowns (75 steals) and led the league in doubles, with 38. 

His 1985 saw him awarded $1.2 million in his salary arbitration, a record at the time. Raines made his fifth All-Star Game appearance, his 70 steals were second in the league to Vince Coleman’s 110, and he was third in the league in batting (.320) and on-base percentage (.405).

15. June 21, 1986
Andre Dawson will never be an easy man to replace in the Montreal Expos lineup. Filling in nicely into Dawson’s No. 3 spot in the order is his close friend Tim Raines.

Raines drove in two more runs as the Expos defeated Pittsburgh Pirates by doubling home Vance Law, who was off and running on the pitch and scored easily from first. In the third, Raines singled home Mitch Webster. The hit knocked Raines out of the game. Pirates right fielder Joe Orsulak mishandled the ball. Raines took off for second, Orsulak recovered and threw Raines out.

Raines sprained his left wrist on the play. He left for the hospital one inning later after crashing into shortstop Rafeal Belliard. “That little runt tackled me,” Raines said. “Tackled me by the rear.” X-rays on Raines’s left wrist were negative. But, he complained later of swollen fingers.

“I don’t mind hitting in the three hole,” Raines said. “I played 30 games or so there when Bill Virdon was the manager for us in 1984. I was doing all right but they decided to change the lineup around when Pete Rose came off the disabled list.”

16. Oct. 4, 1986
Raines went 2-for-7 on the final day of the season as the Philadelphia Phillies edged the Expos 5-4 in 14 innings. Raines won his only batting title with a .334 average and led the league with a .413 on-base percentage. He was an All-Star again and won the Silver Slugger award for his position. He stole 70 bases – the sixth season in a row in which he had 70 or more steals – good for third in the league. 

17. Nov. 25 1986
Three seasons in the minors - all the batting practice and base-stealing drills - in no way prepared Tim Raines. Medical school wasn’t much help at all to Dr. Bob Brodrick. And in 32 years of administrating professional baseball teams, John McHale had never been cast in this role.

Raines was the leading man, while Brodrick and McHale are supporting actors in the independently produced, half-hour documentary called Solid as a Rock. The film, which was later aired on Ottawa’s CBOT, was given a private previewing in Montreal.

While there aren’t any acting awards or Hollywood screen tests on the horizon for the baseball people who re-enact Raines’s cocaine addiction, the film’s message is clear - stay away from drugs. The riveting show deals with Raines, the youngster from Sanford, Fla. The rookie-of-the-year runner-up to Fernando Valenzuela in 1981. The man who enjoyed a salary jump from $30,000 a year to $200,000 in two years. The local-boy-makes-good returned home to Sanford, hung out with the wrong crowd on 13th Street, suffered through his cocaine-plagued season in Montreal. The man kicked the habit through rehabilitation to become one of the game’s best.

“All I had on my mind was where my next hit was coming from ... and I don’t mean a base hit,” said Raines. “I was the first guy from my hometown to make the majors, not that it is any excuse, but I didn’t know how to handle it.”

Raines, however, had flown to Orange, Calif., and was admitted to the Care Unit. 

Raines was not paid for the film. 

“I’d rather not talk about it,” he said Monday on the phone from his new 22-room house in Lake Mary, Fla. “But I have no fear about talking about it."

RCMP drug enforcement officer Michel Pelletier watched the film and said “Anyone who can encourage kids to stay away from drugs is important,” he said. “Anyone who can convince someone involved in drugs to quit is important.”

18. May 2, 1987.
At the peak of collusion -- the owners were found guilty for three straight seasons -- only two free agents switched teams: Lance Parrish joined the Phillies and Andre Dawson signed with the Chicago Cubs. Free agent Raines re-signed with the Expos but could not re-sign until after May 1.

The Expos were at Shea Stadium to play the world champion New York Mets in the NBC Saturday Game of the Week, with Vin Scully at the mike. So much for spring training. 

Raines broke in with spectacular fashion in his first game back going 4-for-5, a stolen base, and a 10th-inning grand slam that was the difference in an 11-7 Expos win. He hit a triple to right field off David Cone on the first pitch he saw, walked in the third, bounced out in the fifth, singled in the sixth, singled in the ninth and then hit a game-winning grand slam off Jesse Orosco, 

19. July 14, 1987
There wasn’t anything but zeros on the board at the All-Star game inside the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum after nine innings, after 10, after 11 and after 12. 

Leading off the top of the 13th, Ozzie Virgil lined a single to left-centre against RP Jay Howell and one out later Hubie Brooks singled. With two out, Raines tripled and the Nationals had a 2-0 victory.

What with extra innings and being on the West Coast there was not a lot of time to make the clubhouse before deadline. 

And there it was a gift provided by Raines, who said on the post-game show “No way we wanted to lose to no minor leaguers from the American League,” said Raines with his patented giggle.

As the legendary Los Angeles Dodgers scribe Gordie Verrell used to say “I buried that quote ... in the second graph.”

Having grown up a Milwaukee Braves pictures on my wall (Del Crandall, Del Rice, Joe Adcock, Bobby Avila, Eddie Mathews, Johnny Logan, Wes Covington, Billy Bruton, Henry Aaron, Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette, Bob Buhl, Joey Jay, Carlton Wiley, Don McMahon) I was a NL fan.

20. Dec. 23, 1990
Raines was attending umpire Ken Kaiser’s annual charity banquet in Rochester, N.Y. We had heard that the Expos might trade Raines, what with his performance declining and with Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom, and Dave Martinez on the horizon.

Not only did Raines phone back, but since he was a 10-and-five (10 years in the majors, five with the same team) he not only knew where he was going but who the Expos were giving up. He was headed to the Chicago White Sox with pitcher Jeff Carter and a player to be named (minor-league pitcher Mario Brito) for outfielder Ivan Calderon and pitcher Barry Jones.

Raines played in more than 150 games for the first time since 1986. He had the lowest batting average of his career up to that point (.268), but was third in the league in stolen bases with 51, and his 102 runs scored were ninth in the league.  

21. Oct. 8, 1993
Trailing 2-0 in the best-of-five American League Championship Series, Raines went 4-for-5 as the White Sox beat the Blue Jays 6-1. He bounced out against Pat Hentgen in the first, singled to right in the five-run second, singled to right in the fourth, doubled to right off Danny Cox in the sixth and doubled to left facing Mark Eichhorn in the eighth. 

The White Sox won the next game 7-4, to square the series at 2-2, but the Blue Jays won the next two games to advance to the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

22. Aug. 9, 1994
Raines singled as the White Sox lost 4-2 to the Oakland A’s. The next day he hit second as the White Sox edged Oakland 2-1 for a one game lead in the American League Central. The day after that play halted and did not resume until a court order the next spring.

Now every Canadian fan remembers the end of the 1994 season. That’s when the Expos had a six-game lead over the Atlanta Braves and were “robbed” of winning the World Series they were destined to win. Yet, the White Sox sat atop their division when play ended.

When author Jonah Keri and Raines toured Cooperstown’s Hall of Fame they stopped at the World Series ring collection and noticed the blank space for 1994. Keri pointed to empty slot and said: “Oh that is so sad,” zeroing in with his camera to take a picture of the missing spot. “That is where the Expos World Series ring should have been?”

Raines cleared his throat “Or ... the Chicago White Sox.”  

23. Dec. 28, 1995.
The White Sox dealt Raines to the New York Yankees for a player to be named later. The Yankees sent Blaise Kozeniewski on Feb. 6, 1996 to the White Sox to complete the deal. The Yankees were beginning a time of dominance during the 1990s. Injuries limited him to 81 games per season, but he finally got to play in a World Series in 1996 and he won two World Series rings in 1996 against the Atlanta Braves and 1998 facing the San Diego Padres. He combined to hit .299 with a .395 on-base percentage.

 Tim Raines spent the bulk of his career with the Expos, the Chicago White Sox  and the New York Yankees.

Tim Raines spent the bulk of his career with the Expos, the Chicago White Sox  and the New York Yankees.

24. March 6, 2001
It was Raines against Raines at Fort Lauderdale. Tim, the father, was with the Expos trying the make Montreal’s 25-man roster, while Tim Jr. was with the Baltimore Orioles trying to make that major-league roster.

The father outhit the son 2-1 while both had RBI singles in a spring-training game in Jupiter, Fla., as the Orioles beat Montreal, 7-6.

25. Aug 21, 2001     
After making the Expos roster as a fifth outfielder, Raines was demoted to triple-A Ottawa and he played in a triple-A doubleheader against his son, Tim Jr. of the Rochester Red Wings. Tim, the father, doubled in three at bats and scored a run for the Lynx in a 4-3 eight-inning loss to Tim Jr’s Red Wings in the opening game of an International League doubleheader at JetForm Park. Junior had a single in three at bats in front of 3,702 fans.

In the second game, Senior was hitless, while Junior was 1-for-4 with a double as Ottawa won 5-4 in 10 innings. The father and son had set appearing in a game a la Ken Griffey and his son Ken, a goal years before.

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26. Oct. 4, 2001, 
After playing against each other in the spring and at triple-A, father and son formed up as 2/3s of the Orioles outfield. Tim Raines Jr. played centre and his father, Tim, played left field, in an Orioles’ 5-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox. They became the second major league father-son duo to play in the same game, matching the feat turned by the Griffeys with the Seattle Mariners, on Aug. 31, 1990.

Tim, the father, singled in four trips, while his son was hitless in four at-bats. In all, father and son appeared in the same box score four times.

27. Sept. 29, 2002.
Raines goes 1-for-3 in his final game playing for the Florida Marlins in a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. The helmet Raines wore that day made it to Cooperstown before he did. The first bit of Raines paraphernalia tourists found didn’t sport an Expos logo. The helmet Raines wore with the 2002 Marlins, the last of his six major league teams was displayed on the second floor. Rules were changed in 1983 that any new players coming into the majors had to wear helmets with ear flaps, although active players could go without. 

Raines’ helmet from 2002 was the last worn without flaps when he left Florida’s win over the Phillies in Game 162 in the sixth inning, replaced by Abraham Nunez. Completing his 23rd major-league season, Raines was playing in his 2,502nd -- and final -- game.

28. Oct. 26, 2005.
White Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye singles with two out in the ninth to give the White Sox a 1-0 win over the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the World Series. The win gave the White Sox a four-game sweep and gave Raines another World Series ring as he had been hired back as a coach.

29. Feb, 2007. 
The website Raines30.com was launched by Jonah Keri, Tom Tango, Craig Burley, the late John Brattain, Neate Sager and Reggie Yinge. Raines made his debut in January of 2008 with Rich Gossage being elected in his ninth year on the Baseball Writers of America ballot.

Raines finished eighth with 24.3% of the vote in 2008 behind eventual Hall of Famers Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven plus Lee Smith, Jack Morris and Tommy John.

30. Fall of 2016.
Besides Jonah Keri going on every bit of air wave to lobby fiercely for Raines, a new supporter entered the fray. Ryan M. Spaeder lobbied for Raines with Tweets like these:

Rickey Henderson would have to return to baseball and steal 448 consecutive bases without being caught to pass Tim Raines in SB efficiency.

Expos Tim Raines is the only player ever to have consecutive seasons with at least 30 2B & 70 SB. He had FIVE straight from 1982-86.

Lou Brock did not have a single season in which he stole bases as efficiently as Tim Raines did throughout his entire career.

Tim Raines is the only player in baseball history with at least 100 3B, 150 HR, & 600 SB.

He tallied 113 3B, 170 HR, & 808 SB.

Seasons with 50+ XBH & 70+ SB:
Tim Raines 4
ickey and Cobb combined 4
ll other Hall of Famers combined 4

Three consecutive season with a .300+ batting average and 70+ stolen bases
Tim Raines 1984-86
Billy Hamilton 1894-96
Billy Hamilton 1889-91

Tim Raines had 29 career extra-inning stolen bases. He was NEVER caught stealing in extras.

And when it came time to speak from the podium at Cooperstown, Raines, who would not know WAR from Afghanistan spoke from his heart about (and to) Keri saying:

“There’s a few guys I want to talk about before I get into my career, but the one guy I want to talk about who was inspirational for me, especially in the past three or four years in my candidacy into the Hall of Fame, and that guy is Jonah Keri. This was a kid that grew up watching Tim Raines play. I remember seeing a picture of us. I think he had to be about six or seven, and I was in my Montreal uniform, and he told me, this was me. 

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“I mean, Jonah is about 30 something now. I said, No way. He said, ‘Yeah, this is me back in the day.’ You were my favorite player. He said, I watched your every move as a player, and today I want to thank him so very much for his support and for him getting me -- getting that name out there.

“You know, there’s a lot of things that I was able to do that I didn’t even know myself. This guy told me about stats that, I’m like, did I do that? Not only that, you know, we’ve become really great friends, you know, and again, thank you,

And the camera zoomed in on the hometown hero it appeared from my angle his shoulders were rocking. 

Or maybe it was just an allergy. Whatever ... goal accomplished: his man was what he always believed: a Hall of Famer.