Hall of Fame Debate – Tim Raines

Ryan Lester of Lester’s Legends have decided to make this a weekly column as we got some great feedback from last week’s look at Mark McGwire.  This week we take a look at one of the better leadoff hitters in the history of the game, Tim Raines.  Let’s take a look at his credentials before getting to each of our opinions on his candidacy:

2502 Games (50th All-time)
8872 At Bats (70th ll-time)
1571 Runs (49th All-time)
.294 Batting Average
.385 On-base %
.425 Slugging %
2605 Hits (71th All-time)
430 Doubles
113 Triples
170 Home Runs
980 RBI
1330 Walks (33rd All-time)
148 Intentional Walks (44th All-time)
808 Stolen Bases (5th All-time)
Five .300+ Seasons
Six 100+ Run Seasons
Six 30+ Double Seasons
Two 10+ Triple Seasons
Twelve 30+ SB Seasons
Eleven 40+ SB Seasons
Eight 50+ SB Seasons
Six 70+ SB Seasons
One 90 SB Season

Playoffs: 34 Games, 34 hits in 126 at bats (.270), 18 Runs, 7 Doubles, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 14 Walks, 3 Steals, 1 World Series Ring

1987 All-Star Game MVP
1986 Silver Slugger
7 All-Star Game Appearances
MVP Votes in 7 Seasons

Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average – Four Times (Batting Crown in 1986)
On-Base % – Seven Times (Led league in 1986)
Slugging % – Once
OPS – Four Times
Games – Once
At-Bats – Three Times
Runs – Eight Times (Led league in 1983 & 1987)
Hits – Six Times
Total Bases – Four Times
Doubles – Three Times (Led league in 1984)
Triples – Nine Times
Walks – Six Times
Intentional Walks – Four Times
Stolen Base – Eleven Times (Led league in ’81, ’82, ’83 & ’84)

Hall of Fame Yardsticks
Black Ink: Batting – 20 (105) (Average HOFer ? 27)
Gray Ink: Batting – 114 (178) (Average HOFer ? 144)
HOF Standards: Batting – 46.6 (93) (Average HOFer ? 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting – 89.5 (177) (Likely HOFer > 100)

Eric Stashin’s Take
When I look at the career of Tim Raines, to me it is no a brainer that he does not belong in the Hall of Fame.  To be enshrined, you should be a dominant player of your generation, not someone who stuck around for 23 seasons and compiled some impressive career statistics.  Don’t get me wrong, Raines was a very good, if not great, lead off hitter who had a ton of speed.  He had 808 career stolen bases, but more then half, 454 to be exact, of which came in a 6-year period from 1981-1986.  That means in his other 17 seasons playing in the major leagues, he had just 354 stolen bases, hardly that impressive.  He scored a ton of runs, but had just six seasons where he eclipsed the 100 mark.  Brett Butler, a player who I think we would all agree is not worthy of being inducted into the Hall of Fame, had the same six seasons scoring 100 runs.  He was a good hitter, but his career average was under .300.  Maybe it was the shadow of Ricky Henderson that hurts Raines’ candidacy, but even with the SB’s his numbers just don’t scream elite player.  He had some very good seasons, but he never truly dominated the league.  To me, it is possible for a player to stick around too long and ruin the reputation he could have had.  People don’t remember the great player that you were, instead the player who just sat on the bench as a reserve, trying to hold onto the game for as long as possible.  I know I said last week that if a player was a dominant force of his time, the rest didn’t matter.  I still think that applies.  To me, however, Raines just wasn’t the dominating force.  He was a great player who was one of the elite stolen bases artists, but that was about all he brought to the table.  Good elsewhere, but not great, and that doesn’t get you my vote.

Ryan Lester’s Take
Rock Raines had the misfortune of playing in the shadow of Rickey Henderson.  While he isn’t in the same category as Rickey, he was an amazing leadoff man.  He achieved one of the thresholds (1500 runs) that I feel virtually gain you automatic entry to the Hall of Fame.  The majority of players that have crossed that threshold are either in, will evenutally be in, or are ineligible (Pete Rose).  Not to mention he was one of the most prolific base stealers in the history of the game.  He had six 100 run season (one of 133), seven consecutive 70+ stolen base seasons, 40+ steals in 11 years of a 12 year stretch.  An impressive stat to me is the number of times he was intentionally walked.  He’s 44th of all-time with 48 IBBs.  He must have been feared as a hitter to intentionally put him on 1st knowing you probably just gave away two or three bases in the process given his ability to swip bases.  He also had eight straight years with at least 7 triples, and he managed to win a World Series ring with the Yankees.  On top of playing second fiddle to Rickey Henderson, he had the misfortune of playing his best seasons in Montreal.  He was one of the best in the game for a long time.  For that I feel he earned a spot in Cooperstown.

There you have it folks.  Feel free to weigh in and take a side.

Previous Hall of Fame Debates
Mark McGwire


  1. Ryan says:

    He may not be a dominant force, but he was better than Brett Butler. I don’t fault a guy for hanging around. What’s wrong with loving what you do and wanting to do it as long as you can? He may not have been dominant his whole career, but he did have a stretch where he was right on par with Rickey Henderson. Was it enough to get him in? Probably not, but there are people in Cooperstown that have worse credentials.

  2. big o says:

    electing tim raines to the hall of fame would only exacerbate the problem .

  3. Ryan says:

    fair point big o

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