The 2010 HOF Ballot â€“ The Case for Tim Raines
Tim Raines appears on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot for the third time this year.Â In 2008, he got 132 votes or 24.3% of the votes.Â In 2009, his vote total fell to 122 or 22.6% of the vote.Â This would apparently indicate that he does not have a good chance of being elected any time soon. I find this to be somewhat disappointing since Raines should be a no-brainer for immediate induction into the Hall of Fame. Given his career achievements, he should have been elected by now.
In twenty-three big league seasons, Rock had 2605 hits in 2502 games, a .294 batting average and an on-base-percentage of .385.Â He had 808 stolen bases and scored 1571 runs while knocking in 980.Â These are HOF-type numbers – but such numbers do not always mean a lot to fans of the game.Â The real question when assessing a playerâ€™s career achievements is how did he stack up against the other great players at his position and, more broadly, against the other great players of his time?
This is precisely what the CAWS Career Gauge attempts to do.Â It demonstrates whether a player has obvious Hall of Fame numbers by comparing his career with that of the other great players at his position as well as the greatest players of the period.Â And Tim Raines clearly has Hall of Fame numbers by any standard.
In the modern era (since 1920), only ninety-six (96) position players have accumulated HOF numbers on the playing field during the regular season.Â Of these, only fourteen were left fielders. Here are those players.Â The first number is career win shares, the second is core value (the win shares for the ten best seasons) and the third is the CAWS score.Â Bold print means they are in the Hall of Fame.
The Left Fielders with Obvious HOF Numbers (through the 2008 season)
As you can see, Tim Raines had the ninth best career enjoyed by a left fielder in the modern era. Many fans would say that fact alone should establish his place in the Hall of Fame. It could be argued that the top ten players at each position probably deserve induction into the shrine at Cooperstown.
You will note that every one of these players who has been eligible has been elected to the Hall â€“ and rightly so. And yet Tim Raines cannot get more than 25% of the vote? Of course, it will be interesting to see what happens when Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield and Manny Ramirez become eligible since each has been stained by the steroids question.
A â€rule of thumbâ€ that can be used regarding the CAWS Gauge is that any position player with a core value of 250 or greater deserves a very serious look for the Hall of Fame. And, of course, Raines has a CV of 275 â€“ significantly better than the benchmark. Tim Raines is not a marginal player but a true super star.
Here are a few left fielders who are in the Hall of Fame but whose careers rank below those of the players above.
Note that only one of these players, Joe Medwick, has a CV of 250 or better.
Finally, in judging whether Tim Raines is truly worthy of induction into the Hall, letâ€™s take a look at where he ranks overall among the best position players of the modern era.
I mentioned above that according to the CAWS Gauge, there are only ninety-six (96) position players who have accumulated obvious HOF numbers since 1920.Â From that list, here are those players who are just above and just below Tim Raines.
By coincidence, the three players on this list who are not yet in the Hall of Fame are all on the 2010 ballot: Tim Raines, Roberto Alomar and Mark McGwire.
You can see that among those position players who had the best careers, Raines is #42.Â Thatâ€™s right â€“ he ranks among the top 50 position players from the last ninety years.Â So, as I mentioned above, we are not talking here about someone who has marginal numbers.Â Tim Raines was a true super star and obvious Hall of Fame player.
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