After ten long years, the wait is finally over.
Tim Raines has been elected into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame, joining Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez as the 2017 inductees that were announced tonight at 6PM.
For weeks, Montrealers and Expos fans from all over wondered whether Raines would be inducted in his last year of eligibility. In 2014, the Baseball Hall of Fame adjusted its rules to grant players only ten years of eligibility on ballots, as opposed to 15. This was Raines’ tenth and final year on the ballot after failing to appear on the required 75 per cent of voters’ ballots last year. He had come up just short with 69.8 per cent.
There was a strong sense leading up to tonight’s announcement that Raines would finally make the cut, as he was on over 90% of ballots made public. In the end, he made it onto 86 per cent of the ballots.
Raines, nicknamed “Rock”, will enter the Hall of Fame as a Montreal Expo, having played 13 seasons with the team, the bulk of his sterling 23-year career.
He was beloved by Montrealers for being able to dominate a game with his bat and his speed. He finished his career with 2,605 hits, 1,330 walks, a .294 batting average, a .385 on-base percentage, 1,571 runs scored and 808 stolen bases (fifth best all-time). His 84.7 per cent success rate for stolen bases is first all-time among players with at least 400 attempts. To put that last stat in perspective, Rickey Henderson, widely regarded as the greatest base-stealer of all-time, would have needed to steal 448 more bases without being caught in order to surpass Raines’ success rate.
This is an important moment in Expos history, as Raines will become the third Expo inducted into the Hall of Fame after Gary Carter (2003) and Andre Dawson (2010).
Tim Raines posted the following on his Twitter account:
Thank you. pic.twitter.com/BNSymKRWoL
— Tim Raines (@TimRaines30) January 18, 2017
Expos fans will no doubt travel in droves to Cooperstown, New York to celebrate with Rock when he is inducted on July 30.