Yankees Tim Raines: Welcome To The Baseball Hall Of Fame

Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /

While the Yankees cannot claim Tim Raines as one of their own, he was a fan favorite at Yankee Stadium for the three seasons he played here. His election today marks the end of a long journey for Raines that began when he first appeared on the ballot in 2008.

The Yankees caught Tim Raines at the end of career from 1996-1998. Those years should ring a bell with fans of the Yankees, and Raines’s contribution to those championship teams cannot be overlooked Denied a World Series ring with The Montreal Expos and Chicago White Sox, Tim Raines took full advantage of the opportunity in 1996, the year the Yankees began “The Run.”

This chart, provided by the Wall Street Journal, demonstrates the long road that Raines has traveled over the past eight years.

The Raines Came Falling Today

Since 1977, the players elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the BBWAA who fared the worst their first time on the ballot. (Year inducted and vote percentage in their first year of eligibility)

Duke Snider (1980—17.0%)
Bert Blyleven (2011—17.5%)
Don Drysdale (1984—21%)
Billy Williams (1987—23.4%)
Bruce Sutter (2006—23.9%)
Tim Raines (2017—24.3%)

Known for his speed on the base paths, Raines stole 70 or more bases six years in a row, leading the National League in three of those years. He won a batting championship in 1986, hitting .334 with a .413 on-base percentage. He scored 100 or more runs six times in his career and finished in the top 5 in the MVP vote three times.

A Yankees Hightlight: Raines Steals His 800th Base

But, what he didn’t do was hit any of the magic numbers typically associated with hall of fame members. He did not, for instance, finish with a career batting average of .300 or higher (.294). Nor did he reach 3,000 hits (2605), 500 home runs (170), or even 1,000 RBI (980). And this is why Raines had to take the long way home to the hall.

But again, if you concentrate on what he did accomplish, he comes across in a much better light. For instance, Raines’s ability to draw walks out of the leadoff spot puts him among the elite of his peers.  All told, he reached base 3,977 times and had a .385 lifetime OBP.

Raines himself held a philosophical view regarding the Hall Of Fame. As far back as 2007, he was quoted by ESPN.com as saying:

"“I would probably say that when it comes to players that made an impact on a team and a league for an extended period of time, if that’s what you’re looking for, that’s what I was. It’s not so much getting 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, 300 wins. It’s also about longevity, the era that you’re playing in, being one player that I think many teams feared for a long period of time. I think all of that gives me a chance.”"

Next: David Cone Deserved More Than One And Done (HOF)

His time with the Yankees may have been all too brief, and undoubtedly he will enter the Hall of Fame in July as a Montreal Expo. But that doesn’t mean that Yankees fans are not happy with the vote result today. It’s just the opposite because this is one of the “good guys” in baseball, then and now. On behalf of all your fans at Yanks Go Yard, Congratulations, Tim.