Tim Raines has some real momentum in Hall of Fame voting, but he only has one more chance to get in. In this his ninth chance on the ballot, the former Montreal Expos star received 69.8 percent of the vote after getting 55 percent last year. That's a gigantic jump for this year and it bodes well for next year.
Generally, once players get this close, they eventually get in. The problem with Raines is he only has one more shot. The good news is that in the final year, many players see a bump. Now, there are exceptions. Take Jack Morris. He lost 6 percent (he went from 67.7 percent to 61.5 percent in his final attempt).
Of course, there were serious circumstances behind that. Not only was the 2013 induction (Morris' 67.7 percent year) an empty one in the BBWAA vote, but 2014 saw Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent come onto the ballot while Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Raines, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and more were holdovers. Basically, due to how crowded the ballot was becoming, Morris needed to get in on the 2013 induction.
For Raines, it's quite the opposite. With big classes in 2014 and 2015 and two guys inducted this time around, the ballot has cleared nine Hall of Famers in the last three inductions. Further, Morris, Don Mattingly, Alan Trammell, Mark McGwire, Nomar Garciaparra, Jim Edmonds and a few others were cleared off in the last three votes.
So that leaves, at least in theory, more open spots for voters who haven't voted for Raines this time around to consider him next time around.
Raines is a deserved Hall of Famer. Pretty much the only notions going around about him not being deserving involve cloudy memories and revisionist history.
He's fifth in career stolen bases, posted an excellent .385 on-base percentage in a long career thanks to 2605 hits and 1330 walks. I made the case that he's the second-best leadoff hitter in history and it's a strong one.
Here are three other nuggets, from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
• He had 10,359 plate appearances and walked or got a hit in 3,935 of them. Tony Gwynn, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, had 10,232 plate appearances and walked or got a hit in 3,931 of them. He had 3,000 hits. Raines had 2,605, but almost 600 more walks. The idea is not to get out, right? Of the first 18 players to have 2,600 hits and 1,300 walks, 16 are in the Hall. Two are not. Raines and Pete Rose.
• Raines’ successfully stole 808 of the 954 bases he attempted to take for a 84.7 success rate, which is the highest, well, ever. Rickey Henderson, one of the most dynamic players ever, had far more steals (1,406) and still would have to steal 69 consecutive bases without being caught to reach Raines’ success rate.
• Raines has four seasons with at least 50 extra-base hits and 70 or more stolen bases. Four. Henderson and Ty Cobb combined had four. The other 200-plus Hall of Famers combined had … four. He would have a third of them if he were in Cooperstown.
That's a Hall of Famer. Just because he might not "feel" like a Hall of Famer to some (which is a dumb reason, by the way) doesn't mean he's not.
It looks like Rock will get his due next year and it'll be about damn time.