“This is probably the first year that I really, really feel like I have a chance,” said Raines, who played for the Chicago White Sox from 1991-95. “I was 23 votes away last year. Up until that point I thought about it, when people asked me about it, and the only thing I wanted to see was how many votes I got. But this year, realizing I was only 23 votes away, I think about it a lot more than I ever have in the past.”
A long time ago, I read that the two ways baseball players entered the Hall of Fame was to either have a magic number ( 500 HR, 3000 Hits, 300 Wins) or to have spent a long time being better than everyone else in the leage at what they do. Tim Raines falls into that category. For the majority of his 23 years in the major leagues, Tim Raines was a top leadoff hitter in baseball and an above average fielder.
Looking at his stats, you can see that he is fifth all time for stolen bases, spent seven seasons with a top-five Offensive WAR, ten seasons as a top-ten Range Factor/Game as LF, and was a seven-time allstar.
The biggest problem Raines has is that Ricky Henderson played at the same time. Henderson is the best leadoff hitter baseball has ever seen. Compared to Henderson, Raines looks pedestrian. Compared to everyone else, he looks amazing. In this, his final season of eligibility, I hope to see Tim Raines elected to the hall of fame.