Monday, January 12, 2009

Raines '09 — right back where we started from...

Tim Raines: 22.6% support in the Baseball Hall of Fame voting.

All the screaming and yelling in the world and sitting at home eating can after can of dog food until your tears smell like dog food won't make it better. One of our contributors, who doesn't have the seamhead sickness, probably nailed it just now over MSN: "I think Raines is a lost cause."

Nothing is over until we decide it is, to quote a great man who never actually existed. In our heart of hearts, the belief is people will come around.

Neither Raines, Andre Dawson nor Bert Blyleven budged the needle. Raines' support dipped by 1.7%, while the Hawk and Rik Aalbert each jumped by 1%. It looks terrible, especially as a harbinger of what might be in store for Roberto Alomar in 2010, but everything looks clearer in time.

Congratulations are due to Rickey Henderson and Jim Ed Rice. The latter, thanks to the politicking of Masshole nation -- there's a mental image of Donny from Southie writing mostfearedhitterinthegame mostfearedhitterinthegame mostfearedhitterinthegame all over the walls of his duplex -- squeaked in by seven votes on his final try. Good for him. It's a baffling choice and it's just loser talk to point out, as Poz did, that a team of Rices, over a 162-game season, would score only 30 more runs than a team of Raineses, even though one played in Fenway Park and the other played at the Big O and was a much better defensive outfielder.

Mike Lynch at Seamheads did the calculating, based on a straw poll done through Facebook (full disclosure: I participated). No player had a bigger difference between his support in the Seamheads poll and the BBWAA vote than Rice, only his worked out in his favour in the official vote (76.4%, compared to 39.1% support among us geeks). Raines had the second-biggest (35.5%), only it worked against him.

Who knows where it goes from here. It's always better to veer away from being a drama queen. One comparable in Cooperstown voting for Raines is Billy Williams, the Chicago Cubs outfielder of the '60s and '70s. Williams polled in the low 20s in his first time on the ballot, 1982. On his second try, he jumped to 40.9% in '83, and was eventually elected in 1987. Raines didn't jump at all.

What can you say? Politics trumps ability.


Dennis Prouse said...

Of course, if this was the Hockey Hall of Fame, they would both be in, and Joe Carter would have a legitimate chance. Maybe that's not such a bad way to run it. An argument can be made that the HHOF is more fan friendly by the way in which they include more old fan favourites. Sure, it waters down the standards somewhat, but that bridge was crossed by expansion many years ago.

sager said...


Thanks for the support. With regard to the BBHOF, Raines and Dawson are qualified — Raines would be raising the standard, not watering it down.

Raines averaged, per 162 games played, 101 runs scored and 52 stolen bases (85% success rate, higher than Rickey Henderson's) with a .385 on-base percentage. His career on-base plus slugging is right in line with Rickey Henderson's (Henderson is only 10 points higher, although that without considering home ballparks). What is not to understand?