Playing the percentages

Raines makes seventh appearance on BBWAA ballot

December 03, 2013
2014 Hall of Fame candidate Tim Raines. (John Cordes/NBHOF Library)

Tim Raines finished his big league career with the highest percentage of stolen bases of any player with 300-plus steals. 

Now he is hoping to join the one percent of major league baseball players to make it into the Hall of Fame. 

Raines is one of 36 players on the 2014 Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot for the Class of 2014 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Raines returns to the BBWAA ballot for the seventh year after receiving 52.2 percent of the vote in 2013. 

BBWAA members who have at least 10 years of tenure with the organization can vote in the election, and the results will be announced Jan. 8. Any candidate who receives at least 75 percent of all BBWAA votes cast will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2014. The Induction Ceremony will be held July 27 in Cooperstown. 

[Scouting report on Tim Raines]

Raines, who was born Sept. 16, 1959 in Sanford, Fla., was selected in the fifth round of the 1977 amateur draft by the Montreal Expos. During his 1981 rookie season, he batted .304 with 71 stolen bases in a strike-shortened season. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, 19th in MVP voting and earned his first All-Star selection. 

“Stolen bases got me to the big leagues,” said Raines, who finished his career with an 84.7 percent success rate in stolen bases. “You need instincts, aggressiveness and cockiness – all three play a big part.” 

Raines earned All-Star Game selections in each of his first seven full seasons. He finished in the top 10 in MVP voting four times and won a Silver Slugger and a batting title in 1986 with a .334 average. He led the league in stolen bases from 1981-1984 and in runs scored in 1984 and 1987. 

“He’s worth every cent we pay him,” said Expos manager Buck Rodgers. “He’s our ignition. He’s our leadoff man, but he’s one of the few players who can either get on base or drive in runs.” 

In 1991, after 13 years in Montreal, Raines signed with the White Sox as a free agent. After five years on the South Side, Raines went to the Yankees and got a taste of the postseason success he’d been missing. 

Raines helped the Bronx Bombers to World Series Championships in 1996 and 1998. Although his playing time was limited due to injuries, Raines was a positive veteran in the clubhouse and remained productive at the plate. 

Six months after signing a free agent contract with the Athletics in 1999, Raines was diagnosed with lupus. He spent the rest of the year undergoing treatment and recovery. 

Raines returned to the big leagues in 2001 and played for the Expos, Orioles and Marlins during two seasons. On a minor league rehab assignment for a shoulder injury, Raines and his son, Tim Raines Jr., became the first father-son pair to play against each other in a professional game. Later that year, he played with his son for the Baltimore Orioles. 

Raines began his coaching career as a manager in the minor leagues in 2003 and has served as coach for the Expos and White Sox. 

During his 23-year career, Raines recorded 2,605 hits, 980 RBI and a .294 batting average. He hit over .300 during five seasons and over .320 for three in a row (1985-87). His 808 stolen bases ranks fifth all-time and his 1,571 runs scored ranks 53rd. 

“He’s one of the toughest guys on the bases,” said former Pirates catcher Tony Pena, a Gold Glove Award winner. “He can go almost any time he wants. He has a good idea of what he’s trying to do when he’s on base. As soon as the pitcher thinks he’s not going, he’s gone.” 

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
1979 19 MON 6 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0      
1980 20 MON 15 27 20 5 1 0 0 0 0 5 0 6 3 .050 .269 .050
1981 21 MON 88 363 313 61 95 13 7 5 37 71 11 45 31 .304 .391 .438
1982 22 MON 156 731 647 90 179 32 8 4 43 78 16 75 83 .277 .353 .369
1983 23 MON 156 720 615 133 183 32 8 11 71 90 14 97 70 .298 .393 .429
1984 24 MON 160 718 622 106 192 38 9 8 60 75 10 87 69 .309 .393 .437
1985 25 MON 150 665 575 115 184 30 13 11 41 70 9 81 60 .320 .405 .475
1986 26 MON 151 664 580 91 194 35 10 9 62 70 9 78 60 .334 .413 .476
1987 27 MON 139 627 530 123 175 34 8 18 68 50 5 90 52 .330 .429 .526
1988 28 MON 109 488 429 66 116 19 7 12 48 33 7 53 44 .270 .350 .431
1989 29 MON 145 618 517 76 148 29 6 9 60 41 9 93 48 .286 .395 .418
1990 30 MON 130 538 457 65 131 11 5 9 62 49 16 70 43 .287 .379 .392
1991 31 CHW 155 709 609 102 163 20 6 5 50 51 15 83 68 .268 .359 .345
1992 32 CHW 144 644 551 102 162 22 9 7 54 45 6 81 48 .294 .380 .405
1993 33 CHW 115 486 415 75 127 16 4 16 54 21 7 64 35 .306 .401 .480
1994 34 CHW 101 453 384 80 102 15 5 10 52 13 0 61 43 .266 .365 .409
1995 35 CHW 133 581 502 81 143 25 4 12 67 13 2 70 52 .285 .374 .422
1996 36 NYY 59 240 201 45 57 10 0 9 33 10 1 34 29 .284 .383 .468
1997 37 NYY 74 318 271 56 87 20 2 4 38 8 5 41 34 .321 .403 .454
1998 38 NYY 109 382 321 53 93 13 1 5 47 8 3 55 49 .290 .395 .383
1999 39 OAK 58 164 135 20 29 5 0 4 17 4 1 26 17 .215 .337 .341
                                     
2001 41 TOT 51 109 89 14 27 8 1 1 9 1 0 18 9 .303 .413 .449
2001 41 MON 47 97 78 13 24 8 1 0 4 1 0 18 6 .308 .433 .436
2001 41 BAL 4 12 11 1 3 0 0 1 5 0 0 0 3 .273 .250 .545
2002 42 FLA 98 114 89 9 17 3 0 1 7 0 0 22 19 .191 .351 .258
23 Yrs 2502 10359 8872 1571 2605 430 113 170 980 808 146 1330 966 .294 .385 .425

 

Samantha Carr is a freelance writer from Rochester, N.Y.