Illness interrupts Raines’ career
The Yankees left fielder had decided it was time to call it quits after 21 years as a big league ballplayer – and two days later, on March 23, 2000, he officially announced his retirement.
“I guess we all have an alarm for when it’s time for your career to end, and I felt like my alarm went off two weeks ago,” Raines told the Associated Press.
It had been a tumultuous year for Raines. Following 20 big league seasons, including 12 with the Expos, five with the White Sox and three with the Yankees, he signed with Oakland in January 1999. But he missed the final two and a half months of the 1999 season while battling lupus.
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“Hopefully, George [Steinbrenner] will have an opening for me somewhere down the line,” Raines said. “I’m not sure in what capacity.”
As it turned out, he would actually return to the game as a player less than a year later, signing with the Expos in December 2000. On Oct. 3, 2001, he was dealt to Baltimore, where he briefly got the chance to play alongside his son in the outfield.
Raines spent the 2002 season with the Marlins, then retired for good at the end of the year, closing out a 23-year career in which he batted .294 with 808 career stolen bases – good for fifth all-time. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2017.
Janey Murray is the digital content specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum