March 30, 2020

The 2010 HOF Ballot – The Case for Tim Raines

January 1, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Tim Raines appears on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot for the third time this year.  In 2008, he got 132 votes or 24.3% of the votes.  In 2009, his vote total fell to 122 or 22.6% of the vote.  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.  He had 808 stolen bases and scored 1571 runs while knocking in 980.  These are HOF-type numbers – but such numbers do not always mean a lot to fans of the game.  The real question when assessing a player’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.  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.  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.  Of these, only fourteen were left fielders. Here are those players.  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.  Bold print means they are in the Hall of Fame.

The Left Fielders with Obvious HOF Numbers (through the 2008 season)

Player Years CWS CV CAWS
1. Barry Bonds 1986-2007
707 427 497
2. Stan Musial
1941-1963 604
3. Ted Williams 1939-1960 555 394 434
4. Pete Rose 1963-1986 547 307 367
5. Rickey Henderson 1979-2003 535 308 365
6. Carl Yastrzemski 1961-1983 488 286 337
7. Gary Sheffield 1988- 422 305
8. Manny Ramirez
1993- 379 285 309
9. Tim Raines 1979-2002 390 275 304
10. Billy Williams 1959-1976 374 279 303
11. Al Simmons 1924-1944 375 276 301
12. Willie Stargell 1962-1982 370 263 290
13. Goose Goslin 1921-1938 355 263 286
14. Lou Brock 1961-1979 348 264 285

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 – 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 ”rule of thumb” 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 – 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.

Joe Medwick
267 278
Heinie Manush
236 248
Jim Rice 282 233 245
Ralph Kiner
242 242
Chick Hafey 186 176 179

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, let’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.  From that list, here are those players who are just above and just below Tim Raines.

Player Years CWS CV CAWS
38. Johnny Mize 1B 339 296 307
39. Charlie Gehringer 2B 383 280 306
40. Paul Molitor DH 414 270 306
41. Duke Snider CF 352 289 305
42. Tim Raines LF 390 275 304
43. Harmon Killebrew 1B 374 279 303
44. Billy Williams LF 374 279 303
45. Roberto Alomar 2B 375 278 302
46. Luke Appling SS 378 275 301
47. Yogi Berra C 375 276 301
48. Al Simmons LF 375 276 301
49. Mark McGwire 1B 342 283 298
50. Dave Winfield RF 415 259 298
51. Johnny Bench C 356 277 297
52. Roberto Clemente RF 377 269 296
53. Ryne Sandberg 2B 346 278 295

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.  That’s right – he ranks among the top 50 position players from the last ninety years.  So, as I mentioned above, we are not talking here about someone who has marginal numbers.  Tim Raines was a true super star and obvious Hall of Fame player.

If anyone would like to receive a free e-copy of Michael Hoban’s 100-page monograph: A HOF HANDBOOK: Who Belongs and Who Does Not, on the right sidebar click on Hoban’s HALL OF FAME HANDBOOK.


One Response to “The 2010 HOF Ballot – The Case for Tim Raines”
  1. Doug Malott says:

    Certain stats you didn’t mention are important. How many home runs? How many all – star appearances? How many gold gloves? How many World Series appearances? To most of these he falls way short of the great players. HOFers can check off
    on all of these points. Raines was a good player,
    not a great player.

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