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Monday, November 12, 2007

Tim Raines

Eligible in 2008.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:11 AM | 88 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:14 AM (#2611883)
Extremely underrated player, but you all knew that already.
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:31 AM (#2611891)
Yeah, we won't really know how underrated until the BBWAA declines to elect him to the HoF. I just hope he gets 5%.
   3. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:50 AM (#2611897)
Among the top 50 MLB position players since 1893.
   4. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: November 12, 2007 at 05:07 AM (#2611905)
Among the top 50 MLB position players since 1893.

Yes, but that certainly doesn't mean he was within shouting distance of immortals like Kirby Puckett.
   5. AJMcCringleberry Posted: November 12, 2007 at 05:08 AM (#2611906)
Among the top 50 MLB position players since 1893.

I have him top 75 including everyone.
   6. OCF Posted: November 12, 2007 at 05:14 AM (#2611909)
Raines in his 30's, Raines with the White Sox and Yankees - he was a good player, but not a HoMer, and not someone who would necessarily project backwards to having been a HoMer. His case is built on his Montreal years, and he was magnificent in those years. (Although one of Bill James's more pungent arguments in some Abstract was to look at what several teams got in offensive value from LF plus 2B - the point being that the awfulness of Doug Flynn was enough to negate Tim Raines.) One note: as a OPB-heavy player and as one of the greatest basestealers in the history of the game, he's severely underrated by OPS+.

As for the 1986/87 collusion: can you find any team in the majors at the time that wouldn't have been improved by adding Tim Raines to their roster? Even the Yankees, and the Yankees had Rickey Henderson. Nothing wrong with having both of them - one could play CF, one LF, one could lead off and the other bat 2nd. Was that a time when Steinbrenner was neutralized?

His 1979 and 1980 statistics are fun to look at. Although he ultimately transcended the role of pinch runner, one can't complain about how well he performed that task.
   7. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: November 12, 2007 at 05:47 AM (#2611922)
Was that a time when Steinbrenner was neutralized?

No, he was quite overactive at that time. I remember a lot of talk that the Yankees would try to sign Raines and/or Jack Morris that off-season. In retrospect I guess it seems odd Steinbrenner would play along with not signing anyone, as it seems he's never minded tweaking the other owners. But I guess the thought of saving money is hard to resist.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 12, 2007 at 06:07 AM (#2611935)
Among the top 50 MLB position players since 1893.

Yes, but that certainly doesn't mean he was within shouting distance of immortals like Kirby Puckett.


But Kirby was a great guy who had a big post-season hit. Tim was a drug using jerk who had the audacity to play in a French loving country north of the U.S.
   9. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: November 12, 2007 at 06:15 AM (#2611940)
Raines still has the most "aww"-inducing BBRef sponsorship ever:

Amy's Husband: Our first baseball game together was Rock's first game back from the '87 collusion - 4 for 5, grand slam in the 10th to beat the Mets. She had a hero for life, and a year later, we were married. He remains her favorite; she remains mine.

That's my favorite sponsorship along with Sam's for Seaver (and his former one for Gooden for that matter).
   10. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 12, 2007 at 06:27 AM (#2611949)
I still remember his game winning hit in the 1987 ASG in Oakland that I attended. Off local hero Jay Howell. I'm flying without a net on this one. I'm sure someone will point it out if I misremembered the whole thing.
   11. baudib Posted: November 12, 2007 at 07:26 AM (#2611971)
Everyone knows these days how unimportant stolen bases are... I firmly believe that no one who believes that ever saw Tim Raines play circa 1981-85. He was a devastating player, as good as anyone in baseball, including Mike Schmidt, in that era.
   12. OCF Posted: November 12, 2007 at 08:23 AM (#2611994)
In my usual style: Tim Raines, Tony Gwynn, Paul Waner, Al Kaline, and Carl Yastrzemski.

Raines 70 62 61 58 49 47 42 35 32 28 28 19 16 16 14 14 11  5  1  0 ---9
Gwynn  79 65 57 44 43 39 38 37 36 31 30 29 28 23 19 12  8  8  7  6
Waner  67 66 66 59 47 46 43 40 39 39 35 28 17 15 11  8  8  5  0  0
Kaline 71 62 55 46 45 45 44 39 38 38 35 33 33 24 21 20 17 11 10 
--2-19
Yaz
..  96 82 80 48 41 36 34 33 28 24 21 20 20 19 17 16 11  9  7  7  3  0 -
   13. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: November 12, 2007 at 08:41 AM (#2612000)
Everyone knows these days how unimportant stolen bases are... I firmly believe that no one who believes that ever saw Tim Raines play circa 1981-85. He was a devastating player, as good as anyone in baseball, including Mike Schmidt, in that era.


I think that's a slight exaggeration, but not much, and besides, being second place to Mike Schmidt isn't exactly shameful.
   14. Guapo Posted: November 12, 2007 at 03:20 PM (#2612083)
I firmly believe that no one who believes that ever saw Tim Raines play circa 1981-85. He was a devastating player, as good as anyone in baseball, including Mike Schmidt, in that era.


If you really want a debate... Raines v. Henderson (1981-1986). Go!
   15. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 12, 2007 at 03:29 PM (#2612087)
Henderson! I'm done!
   16. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 12, 2007 at 03:40 PM (#2612093)
'81-'86 is a push. Including '87 pushes Raines over the top.
   17. Mike Green Posted: November 12, 2007 at 03:41 PM (#2612095)
Raines is behind Henderson in the race for the greatest leadoff hitter ever. I guess Biggio and Raines fight it out for second, with Raines winning in my book.
   18. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: November 12, 2007 at 03:46 PM (#2612101)
Amy's Husband: Our first baseball game together was Rock's first game back from the '87 collusion - 4 for 5, grand slam in the 10th to beat the Mets. She had a hero for life, and a year later, we were married. He remains her favorite; she remains mine.

I, too remember this game. It was the Game of the Week on NBC and I remember the announcers wondering why Raines hadn't been signed by anyone. I'm still not happy the A's didn't sign him and knowing why they didn't doesn't make me any happier about it.

For no reason at all the 2 games of the week I remember the most clearly are Tim Raines' comeback agame and Jack Morris' no hitter. I also remember a game very well from 1987 because the Cardinals used their speed to just wreck the Mets in one game. That was a fun one because I thought of myself as a Cardinal-type player. Slap and run, slap and run.
   19. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:07 PM (#2612118)
Raines leaves Biggio in the dust as far as I'm concerned...I imagine Hamilton hit leadoff, no? He was far better than Biggio. Did Jackie Robinson lead off? Did Carew? All of those guys were greater than Biggio IMO.
   20. Mike Green Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:22 PM (#2612134)
Jackie Robinson hit 2nd or 4th most of the time. Carew usually hit 2nd behind Tovar/Hisle/Bostock early in his Minnesota career, and hit 3rd or 5th later in his career.

Billy Hamilton is a whole 'nother argument, with environment and peak vs. career playing a big part.
   21. BDC Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:30 PM (#2612145)
This game exemplifies Tim Raines: June 1985, against Steve Carlton, who was having a miserable season but was on his game that day. Raines led off with a base hit in the first, stole second and third, scored on a grounder. Raines singled in the sixth, stole second, scored on a single. In the eighth against Larry Andersen, Raines reached third base on an error, scored on a single. Expos won 4-1. There would be games like that where it seemed like Montreal didn't even need its eight other players.
   22. DL from MN Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:40 PM (#2612152)
I can't see Raines falling below the 5% threshold. He will draw comparisons to Lou Brock and although he doesn't have the counting numbers of Brock (and will be underrated) I think the writers value stolen bases and 5th in steals with 2600 hits is going to look pretty good. The 7 consecutive All-Star appearances balance the lack of an MVP. There's also a batting title and 4 straight years leading the league in SB. They're not going to induct him _before_ Rickey but they'll keep him around to do the comparison.

Which year is Raines' best argument as MVP? 1986?
   23. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:42 PM (#2612155)
One of the very last players to use the flapless batting helmet, even outlasting Gaetti. Was Raines the last?

I have grave, grave concerns that the BBWAA won't give him 5% of the vote.

Perhaps no candidate's HOF case is hurt more by the various labor troubles than Raines. The tally:

1981--played in 88 of 108 team games, prorated to 162: 132. Missing about 44 games.
1987--missed Expos first 21 games due to collusion; played 139 of 141 remaining, so missed about 20 games.
1994--played 101 of 113 CHW games, prorated to 162: 145. Missing about 44 games.
1995--played 133 of 144 CHW games, prorated to 162: 149. Missing about 16 games.

TOTAL: 124 games.

That's not enough to get him to 3000 hits, but it would be enough to get him over 1000 RBI, 1600 R, 2600 G, and possibly over 2750 H.

Among eligible players, with more than 1600 R, only GVH and Pony Ryan aren't in, and Raines would likely have ended up around 1650, above both of them.

Using just his career H/G over the missing 124 games, Raines would have ended up around 2734, and only Baines, Dawson, Pinson, Oliver are over that number and outside the HOF. A more accurate gauge might peg it higher.

Raines would have 2624 G, 33rd all time. Among eligibles, only the following above that number are out: Staub, Baines, Nettles, Evans, Dawson.

I'm not saying he'd be in with those extra 124 games, but they're just another little hindrance along the way.
   24. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:48 PM (#2612160)
Yes, he was the best player in the league by a comfortable margin that year. I have him tied for third in '83 (with Murphy, after Schmidt and Thon), tied for second in '84 (with Schmidt, after Sandberg), second in '85 (after Guerrero), first in '86, and tied for 6th in '87 (with Schmidt, after Gwynn, Ozzie, Murphy, Davis, and Strawberry). Collusion credit wouldn't bump him past any of those guys. His own best season was '85, but Guerrero just went postal on the league that year.
   25. sunnyday2 Posted: November 13, 2007 at 01:56 AM (#2612802)
>he 2 games of the week I remember the most clearly are Tim Raines' comeback agame and Jack Morris' no hitter.

Hoyt Wilhelm's no-hitter.

Oh, am I dating myself?
   26. OCF Posted: November 13, 2007 at 03:43 AM (#2612905)
In 1983, the entire Montreal team scored 677 runs. Raines personally scored 133 of them - 19.6% of the team's total. That's not quite Harry Stovey for the Worcester Ruby Legs (90/379 for 23.7%), but -- wow!
   27. MNB Posted: November 13, 2007 at 04:48 AM (#2612981)
The first game I ever went to in person was in Montreal during the afternoon of June 12, 1988. The Expos were playing the Mets. Raines was already my favorite player and had been for as long as I can remember. The Expos were down 3-0 going into the bottom of the 9th. Raines led off the inning with an HBP and then Casey Candaele singled and Galarraga homered to tie the game. In the bottom of the 11th, Raines was leading off again. He walked, stole second, moved to third on a Candaele sacrifice bunt and then scored on a Hubie Brooks single to lead the game. After that he was permanently my favorite player.

His 1981 still baffles me. 71 stolen bases in 88 games? That's just sick.
   28. baudib Posted: November 13, 2007 at 04:55 AM (#2612993)
He was only on first base via single or walk or HBP 117 times.
   29. ronw Posted: November 13, 2007 at 06:53 AM (#2613109)
His 1981 still baffles me. 71 stolen bases in 88 games? That's just sick.

Yes, that translates to 131 in 162 games. It is disgusting, except for the fact that the very next year Rickey Henderson stole 130 in 149 games.

I loved '80s baseball.

I wonder if there is any correlation to the base-stealing phenoms and the lack of good pitchers. Did they get tired from constantly throwing to first? It didn't matter, the base stealers were all going anyway.
   30. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 13, 2007 at 08:20 AM (#2613150)
If you really want a debate... Raines v. Henderson (1981-1986). Go!
'81-'86 is a push. Including '87 pushes Raines over the top.


1981-1986 totals:

Raines beats Henderson in games, 861 to 840.

Raines whomps Henderson in hits, 1,027 to 907, and in BA, .306 to .290.

Henderson beats Raines soundly in walks, 557 to 463.

Henderson beats Raines in OBP, .397 to .390.

Henderson wrecks Raines in runs, 702 to 596.

Henderson bonks Raines in home runs, 93 to 55.

Raines and Henderson are basically tied in XBH, 283 to 278.

Henderson beats Raines in slugging, .448 to .433.

Henderson is slightly better in RBI, 338 to 304.

Henderson beats Raines in steals, 527 to 454.

Raines trounces Henderson in times caught stealing, 69 to 129.

Raines is slightly better in strikeouts, 373 to 389.

Raines was notably better in fielding errors, 30 to 45.

Raines' MVP finishes, from best to worst, were 5th, 6th, 11th, 12th, 19th, and off the ballot ('82).
Henderson's MVP finishes, from best to worst, were 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 24th, and off the ballot twice ('84 and '86).

Raines made all six All-Star teams, Henderson made five (not in 1981).

Both played in the 1981 postseason only. Raines had a bad line in 5 games, Henderson had a decent line in 6 games. In the other five non-playoff seasons, Henderson's teams were very competitive once, marginally twice, and totally out of it twice. Raines' teams were marginally competitive twice, and totally out of it three times.

Raines' *OPS+ totals, from best to worst, were 151, 145, 138, 135, 129, and 101.
Henderson's *OPS+ totals, from best to worst, were 157, 150, 145, 139, 125, and 122.

There's no way that adds up to a win for Tim Raines. However, he's not far behind. The BBWAA screwing we all see on the horizon will be one of the most indefensible votes in HoF history, which will be saying something.
   31. sunnyday2 Posted: November 13, 2007 at 01:52 PM (#2613187)
Interesting how the lack of success in MVP voting becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
   32. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 13, 2007 at 03:53 PM (#2613278)
There's no way that adds up to a win for Tim Raines.


Oh, isn't there? Just listing a lot of categories--especially meaningless ones like strikeouts--doesn't tell you a whole lot about the comparative merits of the players in question. Why don't we actually add it up and see:

Glossary

XR is the player's raw Extrapolated Runs generated (including SF, HBP, and different-weighted IBB, but not SH or GDP). This should run very close to BP's UEQR, except in weird cases of things UEQR doesn't count like very high SF.
BR is his non-SB baserunning runs.
DP are his DP avoidance runs (i.e., DP above/below what a league average player would have had in his opportunities, converted to runs).
PF is how many runs he needs to be adjusted for his park.
Outs is how many outs he created (AB-H+CS+SF+Net DP).
DF is how many fielding runs he was above/below an average player (a regressed average of BP FRAA and Fielding WS).
RS is how many runs a league-average team would have scored by adding the player (take the league average batting outs per team, subtract the player's outs, multiply the remainder by the league average runs scored per batting out, and add on the player's XR, BR, DP, and PF).
RA is how many runs a league-average team would have allowed by adding the player (take the league average runs scored, and subtract DF).
WAA is how many wins above average that RS/RA translates to using PythagenPat, straight-line adjusting for season length to 162 games.
SDev is how many wins we have to add/subtract for the standard deviation of the league.
DH is the DH adjustment.
Rep is how many wins above average a replacement player at the same position would have produced in the same playing time.
WARP is wins above replacement (WAA+SDev+DH-Rep).

Note that PF and SDev are percentage adjustments, so the farther a player is from average, the further from zero they will be.


Rickey Henderson

Year  XR BR DP PF Outs DF  RS  RA  WAA SDev  DH  Rep WARP
1981  78  1  0  4  315 11 469 426  7.2 
-0.4 0.7 -0.7  8.1
1982  97  3  3  4  430 
-5 759 731  2.9 -0.2 0.6 -0.7  4.0
1983 104  1 
-1  7  385  4 771 723  4.9 -0.3 0.5 -0.7  5.8
1984  97  4  0  8  376 
-8 761 724  3.8 -0.1 0.5 -0.7  4.9
1985 127  5  0  3  391  3 802 734  6.9 
-0.2 0.6 -1.4  8.6
1986 111  1 
-2  1  473  4 773 742  3.1  0.0 0.6 -1.4  5.1
TOTL 614 15  0 27 2369  8 xxx xxx 28.7 
-1.2 3.5 -5.6 36.6 


Tim Raines

Year  XR BR DP PF Outs DF  RS  RA  WAA SDev  DH  Rep WARP
1981  62 
-1  0 -1  233 -1 445 420  4.1 -0.1 0.0 -0.5  4.5
1982  92  1  0 
-2  484  2 677 660  1.9  0.0 0.0 -0.8  2.6
1983 115  4  0  1  451  8 714 658  6.1  0.0 0.0 
-0.8  6.9
1984 115  3  2  5  440 
-2 713 660  5.8 -0.1 0.0 -1.6  7.3
1985 114  3  0  7  404  7 719 651  7.4 
-0.1 0.0 -0.8  8.2
1986 116  2  2  1  392  5 733 670  6.8  0.0 0.0 
-0.9  7.7
TOTL 613 12  3 12 2404 20 xxx xxx 32.0 
-0.3 0.0 -5.5 37.2 


So, as you can see, their value was essentially identical (adding in 1987 gives Raines a meaningful edge). They had the same value above average in the same playing time, with Henderson slightly better offensively and Raines slightly better defensively. Henderson gets dinged a tiny bit for playing in the post-expansion AL and for having had one of his big years during a strike year. Henderson did have somewhat bigger peak seasons during those years.
   33. Dizzypaco Posted: November 13, 2007 at 07:06 PM (#2613514)
I don't believe Raines was substantially better than Henderson in 83 and 84, as the numbers above suggest. Henderson's OBP and OPS+ were higher than Raines each year. Raines played a few extra games but it shouldn't be enough to make Raines look that much better, especially given they played the same position and were about equal as baserunners. Raines was clearly better than Henderson in 86 and 87, but I'd take Henderson the rest of their careers. Not that being second fiddle to Rickey Henderson is much of an insult.
   34. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 13, 2007 at 07:31 PM (#2613539)
It's 100 and 120 PA of difference--that's not "a few extra games," it's substantial. And Raines played CF in '84 while Henderson played LF, also an important distinction (as you can see in the "Rep" column).
   35. OCF Posted: November 13, 2007 at 07:38 PM (#2613548)
Indeed. If the debate is Raines in his 20's versus Henderson in his 20's, if the framework I set for Raines in post #12 is Gwynn/Waner/Kaline, then we're not arguing about whether or not Raines should be placed #1 on a 2008 HoM ballot versus the backlog. That part seems to be a done deal.

BB-ref's most similar are an interesting list: Lofton, Brock, Carey, Willie Davis, Ryan, Cruz, Franco, Clarke, Hooper, Slaughter. Some HoM, some not - but this is a case of Raines being better than most of that list. Better than Lofton because his times were lower-scoring than Lofton's. Better than Brock because of the walks, the CS, and the defense. And so on.

Raines does make Henderson's 10 most similary list, but with a ridiculously low similarity score of 646. What that list will tell you is that no one was at all similar to Henderson.
   36. DavidFoss Posted: November 13, 2007 at 07:41 PM (#2613552)
Which year is Raines' best argument as MVP? 1986?

FWIW, Win Shares has him tied for 1st in 1985 (with McGee), first in 1986 and first in 1987.
   37. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 13, 2007 at 07:42 PM (#2613553)
"Oh, am I dating myself?"

This is why everyone but West Virginia has banned human cloning.
   38. OCF Posted: November 13, 2007 at 07:53 PM (#2613565)
Well, the 1985 MVP should have gone to Gooden.
   39. DavidFoss Posted: November 13, 2007 at 07:57 PM (#2613570)
adding in 1987 gives Raines a meaningful edge

Well, counting 1987 for Raines but not 1980 for Henderson is not really a fair trade. Their "Age 27" comps at bb-ref are quite close. 134 OPS+ for both. More steals, lower SB% for Rickey. Raines holds very close through age 30. (Rickey's best year was age 31).
   40. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 13, 2007 at 08:28 PM (#2613612)
Did anyone know Raines came up as a 2B? If he had stayed there, he'd be awfully close to the inner circle...

He certainly deserves collusion credit for '87, not that it matters.
   41. OCF Posted: November 13, 2007 at 08:32 PM (#2613619)
If he had stayed there, he'd be awfully close to the inner circle...

Or his ACL surgery at the age of 23 after a takeout slide could have cost him his speed and lowered him to the HOVG. You never know.

A question about 1981: during what part of the year was he in a cocaine rehab clinic? Was at least some of the strike games he would have missed anyway?
   42. DavidFoss Posted: November 13, 2007 at 09:37 PM (#2613713)
A question about 1981: during what part of the year was he in a cocaine rehab clinic? Was at least some of the strike games he would have missed anyway?

I don't have rehab clinic dates, but Raines missed 20 games in 1981. Most of them were at the end of the season. There's a big chunk of games after Sept 13th where Raines was only spottily used as a pinch runner. Montreal went 14-8 down the stretch without him overtaking Saint Louis for the second half crown. Looks like he completely missed the ALDS victory over Philly. Back full time for the ALCS, he hit .238/.238/.333.

I would guess there should be more anecdotal stuff on this somewhere. I'm just looking at game logs.
   43. OCF Posted: November 14, 2007 at 12:54 AM (#2613911)
From post #8: Tim was a drug using jerk ...

Of course, Alex Gordon's #1 Fan had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek when he wrote that. I'm just bringing it up to mention that the "drug user" case against Tim Raines is exactly the same as that against Paul Molitor. If any BBWAA writer has the temerity to mention this and even hint that it has anything to do with his vote, then I would suggest that someone should dig up what that writer said about Molitor to see if it matches.
   44. AndrewJ Posted: November 14, 2007 at 01:02 AM (#2613919)
I'm a huge Phillies fan, and even I think Raines was robbed in the 1986 MVP voting (Schmidt was robbed in 1974 and 1982)...
   45. Paul Wendt Posted: November 14, 2007 at 01:22 AM (#2613935)
OCF
His 1979 and 1980 statistics are fun to look at. Although he ultimately transcended the role of pinch runner, one can't complain about how well he performed that task.

One game I saw at Fenway Park in 1995, before July 30 (John Kruk's final game), Raines was working on the all-time ML or AL consecutive steals streak. Of course, a consecutive steals streak is not measured in games but in attempts without a caught stealing, extremely discretionary. Raines was past his prime, working on that record for a couple of years, and someone else was working on it quickly. . .
Retrosheet shows 11 steals for Raines that year until 1995-09-02. If I count correctly, 16 steals in 1993 after -07-22; 13 in 1994; 11 in 1995 before -09-02. That is consecutive steals in two years plus six weeks.
   46. Paul Wendt Posted: November 14, 2007 at 01:23 AM (#2613937)
forty!
If I count correctly, 16 steals in 1993 after -07-22; 13 in 1994; 11 in 1995 before -09-02. That is 40 consecutive steals in two years plus six weeks.
   47. Paul Wendt Posted: November 14, 2007 at 01:40 AM (#2613948)
I loved '80s baseball.

I wonder if there is any correlation to the base-stealing phenoms and the lack of good pitchers. Did they get tired from constantly throwing to first? It didn't matter, the base stealers were all going anyway.


Pitchers and catchers may pay more attention to some baserunners than others, and they do.

But the clubs make prior "decisions" (some implicit) as they develop their batteries, decisions in player acquisition and player training. (Mark Clear is an extreme example from that time.) Is it reasonable to acquire and train the battery to stop the baserunning game? That depends on some aggregate capability and inclination of the baserunners.

(According to this theory, a qualification I won't repeat,) Evidently Henderson, Raines, and other high volume high rate base thieves of their time were able to take advantage of a general investment in pitchers and catchers who were relatively good at other things, relatively bad at defending the running game. We don't see anything like that today because clubs responded by developing teams that defend it better.
   48. Bleed the Freak Posted: November 14, 2007 at 05:57 AM (#2614182)
Interesting interview of Tim Raines.

Q & A With Tim Raines

The discussion includes Raines take on cocaine:

DL: Early in your career there was an issue with cocaine use.

TR: Yes, and it’s not something I’m proud of, but I also don’t want people to have the wrong idea about what happened. I was never a drug addict or anything like that. Not to make excuses, but I was young and it was a part of the culture at the time--I simply made a bad decision. But I was never arrested, or caught doing anything. I voluntarily sought help, because I didn’t want it to get in the way of my career, and coming clean was part of that therapy. I took what happened as a learning experience, and going forward I think it made me a better person.

If I was around for his '80's heyday, he would have been a favorite.
   49. Bleed the Freak Posted: November 14, 2007 at 06:04 AM (#2614186)
Following the 1982 season, Raines entered himself into a rehabilitation clinic and successfully kicked his addiction to cocaine. Admitted that his addiction was so bad that he would hide bags of cocaine in the back pocket of his uniform during games and would always slide head first just to make sure that the bags didn't fall out.

Anyone know of anyone else who slid in head first for Raines reasoning?
   50. MNB Posted: November 14, 2007 at 06:21 AM (#2614196)
Thanks for the link to the interview, Bleed. I really enjoyed that.
   51. OCF Posted: November 14, 2007 at 06:45 AM (#2614206)
OK, so I had the timing wrong in my mind. The rehab clinic was 1982, not 1981, and he missed no time for it. The missing games from late 1981 had to be some kind of injury, and the fact that he was used as a PR but not at bat or in the field suggests some kind of hand injury.
   52. OCF Posted: November 14, 2007 at 06:55 AM (#2614208)
One thing I was reminded of reading that interview was the way I saw Raines somewhere around '86 or '87.

The fans and the punditry are always obsessed with overachievers and underachievers. I'm not that interested in either of those categories. Who speaks of the achievers? By that I mean the players of obvious talent and promise who never stop improving themselves, and who after a few years become something even more than what they first seemed to be. That was Raines at his peak.
   53. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: November 14, 2007 at 07:36 AM (#2614218)
BaseRuns, 1981-1986; no park, league, or positional adjustments:

Raines: 63, 94, 114, 112, 115, 112
Henderson: 78, 107, 109, 102, 133, 112
   54. DCW3 Posted: November 14, 2007 at 08:42 AM (#2614231)
I've thought for a while that Raines is a guy who, maybe more than any other upcoming Hall of Fame candidate, would benefit from some sabermetric types with a bit of mainstream exposure talking up his credentials, similar to what has happened with Bert Blyleven. The Blyleven campaign hasn't really worked because, by the time it started in force, he had been on the ballor for a while and the Hall had already rejected him. But if some more Raines articles started coming out now, a few minds might be changed. An obvious hook would be to compare him to Brock, a similar player in a lot of ways and a guy who sailed into the Hall on the first ballot--it's not too difficult to show that Raines was a vastly superior player than Brock even without using measures like VORP or WARP, sticking to things that voters can understand.
   55. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 14, 2007 at 02:35 PM (#2614289)
My NY Times columns generally need to do a bit more than just push a guy's Hall case--either make some surprising/clever/counterintuitive argument (which Raines for the Hall isn't), or introduce readers to some important and interesting sabermetric concept/research. If I could use Rock as a case/example in something broader, it might work, but nothing immediately leaps to mind--the importance of SB% is a little passé.
   56. sunnyday2 Posted: November 14, 2007 at 02:37 PM (#2614290)
Well, there seems to be some interest in Rock vs. Rick, and Rick(ey) is pretty well known in NY.
   57. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 14, 2007 at 02:42 PM (#2614295)
but....Rickey was much, much better than Raines. His peak was higher and he played for far longer. If I could argue that Raines was better, now That would be a provocative column, but unfortunately intellectual honesty has to come into play here.

Besides, I'm sure the last thing much of the group wants is me broadcasting my opinions on Hall of Merit candidates to the Sunday NY Times audience. :)
   58. Mike Green Posted: November 14, 2007 at 02:55 PM (#2614306)
The Brock/Raines comparison is the one I always make. You really have to distinguish between quality and fame. Brock was famous because his strengths, batting average and stolen bases and performance in the World Series, suited the times. You have to remember that in the 1960s, we had the Game of the Week and the World Series on television and that was it. There were no web gems, no highlights at 11, no Sportscenter. Brock's performances in the 1964, 1967 and 1968 Series took on tremendous importance in the way he was seen by fans and writers.

Raines' problem, like Santo's, Whitaker's and Blyleven's, is that he wasn't famous, in substantial part because the Expos did little after Blue Monday (the day Rick Monday hit the homer off Steve Rogers in the 1981 playoffs) . All of this is really quite sad, because Raines was beautiful to watch and a great player.
   59. Kyle S Posted: November 14, 2007 at 03:36 PM (#2614350)
Dan, I'm not sure there's a column for you unless Raines barely gets 5% or (God forbid) fails to get 5% of the ballot. Then there's room for a "what perfect storm caused the hof to whiff on such a no-brainer candidate" type column, or maybe a comparison of Raines (with his paltry vote totals) to Tony Gwynn (who sailed in on the first ballot). I imagine they're pretty close to each other in terms of HOM value, right? How would y'all rank them had they been eligible the same year?
   60. Kyle S Posted: November 14, 2007 at 03:43 PM (#2614358)
Looking back, Raines and Gwynn have about the same amount of PA. Gwynn has a 9 point OPS+ advantage. Both guys were OBP heavy, Gwynn has the advantage in hitting. Raines was a much better baserunner (although Tony was very good as a youngster). I imagine Raines was more valuable defensively, although I have no evidence to show that.

Okay, so I cheated. Davenport has both guys as absolutely identical in WARP2 and WARP3. Argue that Raines was as good or better than Gwynn. Now THAT would be a provocative column :)
   61. OCF Posted: November 14, 2007 at 03:53 PM (#2614365)
Yes, Kyle, had Raines been eligible in 2007, I think my vote would have been 1. Ripken, 2. Raines, 3. Gwynn, 4. McGwire. It is a close call, but see post #12 above, with an extra nod to his non-SB baserunning.
   62. Dizzypaco Posted: November 14, 2007 at 04:02 PM (#2614376)
People are oversimplifying the "why is Raines underrated question." No one factor is enough to make a player this underrated. Here are just some of the reasons:

1. Raines generally did not play for winning teams. He never "led" his team to a world series, and never had the chance to be on the big stage and perform well in one.
2. The prime of his career was played for a team in a very small market.
3. Raines did not have a particular memorable personality. People with memorable personalities, either good or bad, tend to be remembered more than people who seem to the public as just generally "there". Stan Musial kind of had this problem after his career.
4. Raines did not have good triple crown stats during his prime, which was an era where triple crown stats were highly valued. Look at the MVP voting during his prime.
5. Raines wasn't the kind of player that would frequently appear on "plays of the week." He rarely made spectacular defensive plays, and he wouldn't hit long home runs.
6. Raines stole a ton of bases, but what he did wasn't considered unique in the public eye. Brock's stolen bases were considered unique at the time he was doing it, and in fact held both the season and career records for steals at one point.
7. Raines had the misfortune of having his career exactly overlap a player who was nearly identical, but generally a little better.
8. Raines had a long decline phase to his career - long enough to burn an image in most people's minds of his abilities that were different than the 86-87 peak. Players like Puckett and Sandberg did not play a long time after their peaks, meaning that the image of these players is more likely to be driven by their peak performance.
9. Similarly, Raines had a long career - but it doesn't seem that way due to the long period of play after his peak.
10. Raines greatest strengths - the combination of the abiilty to get on base with terrific speed and baserunning, is generally undervalued.

There's probably more, but that's all I can think of for now.
   63. DL from MN Posted: November 14, 2007 at 04:16 PM (#2614388)
Runs scored are tremendously undervalued in comparison to RBI. When he did finally have a chance to play on the national stage with the Yankees it was later in his career.
   64. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 14, 2007 at 04:44 PM (#2614421)
Aha! I could do a How Much Is Baserunning Worth piece, using Raines as Exhibit A. I'll pitch that now.

FWIW, I have Raines as about 10% more valuable than Gwynn.
   65. sunnyday2 Posted: November 14, 2007 at 05:07 PM (#2614457)
1. Ripken
2. Raines
3. McGwire
4. Gwynn
   66. DL from MN Posted: November 14, 2007 at 05:08 PM (#2614458)
Yount and Molitor would be worth mentioning as good baserunners also and you've found another in Campaneris. Who are the exhibits for poor baserunners?
   67. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 14, 2007 at 05:30 PM (#2614483)
Lowest career BRWAA2:

1. Tim Wallach, -4.7
2. Chili Davis, -4.5
3. Todd Zeile, -4.1
3. Fred McGriff, -4.1
5. Rick Cerone, -3.7
5. Mike Piazza, -3.7
6. Bob Boone, -3.7
8. Hubie Brooks, -3.3
8. John Olerud, -3.3
10. Benito Santiago, -3.2
10. Tony Peña, -3.2

Remember, you have to have a long career with a decent OBP to hurt your team a lot on the basepaths!
   68. Mike Green Posted: November 14, 2007 at 05:38 PM (#2614493)
Wallach had the long career, but wasn't on first base very often at all. Chili Davis was fast in his 20s. You'd expect to see someone like Piazza or Olerud at the top, but there's more to it than raw (very raw) speed and times on base.
   69. DL from MN Posted: November 14, 2007 at 06:24 PM (#2614578)
I think Hubie Brooks is a great contrast to Tim Raines. You can't contrast Raines to a slow catcher, everyone will think that is obvious. Brooks is well known to members of your NY audience, wasn't thought of as particularly slow and played in Montreal as a teammate of Raines. He even knocked in 100 runs to earn a silver slugger when most of those runs should probably be attributed to the baserunning ahead of him more than his bat (he only scored 67 runs that season). Todd Zeile v. Paul Molitor would be a great exhibit B.
   70. sunnyday2 Posted: November 14, 2007 at 07:34 PM (#2614693)
How far back do these numbers go? I mean, Ernie Lombardi could probably give these buys a "run" for their money--in a figurative sense, only, of course.
   71. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 14, 2007 at 09:11 PM (#2614837)
It is interesting that Raines, Brooks, and Wallach all played on the same team. Brooks and Wallach both had terrible SB/CS--50 to 60 of each--and quite unsightly EqBR as well.

They go back all the way, but I have to estimate EqBR pre-1972 and CS pre-1951 (NL) and 1920 (AL). I do this by means of regression equations, with r-squared of around 20-25%. This means that about 1/4 of the variance in EqBR can be explained by all the factors I am counting, while about 3/4 cannot be. The 1/4 we credit, and the 3/4 we assume is league average, since we don't know what causes it. This means that the standard deviation of EqBR (and SB/CS runs) is far lower in the years I have to estimate them than it is in the years when I have the actual data--3 estimated EqBR is about as high as it gets, whereas guys have actually had seasons around 9 EqBR post-1972. I have Lombardi is at -2 BRWAA2 for his career, based on his position and offensive statistics. I wouldn't be surprised if he were actually -5 or below. We'll find out someday when Retrosheet gets to those years.
   72. BDC Posted: November 14, 2007 at 09:18 PM (#2614844)
Raines and Warren Cromartie played in the same outfield for a while. For an outfielder with modest power and unexciting batting average, Cromartie was pretty slow ...
   73. sunnyday2 Posted: November 14, 2007 at 09:44 PM (#2614869)
Still it can't be a coincidence that all of the bottom 10 are '80s and '90s guys. It has to be an artifact of the method.
   74. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 14, 2007 at 09:52 PM (#2614882)
Of course it's an artifact of the method! I just said, the variance in EqBR is 3-4 times higher for post-'72 than for pre-'72. We KNOW, with certainty, how many runs all the post-'72 guys added/subtracted on the basepaths. We have to guess for the pre-'72 guys. And the best guess we can make is basically to infer 25% of our answer from the players' statistical profile, and 75% regression to the mean. For the post-'72 guys, it's 100% from the data, 0% regression to the mean. Of course the most extreme outliers will come from the period when we have the data to say with confidence that they were extreme outliers!

A secondary factor is that SB were at such a high in the 1980's, which increases the standard deviation of BRWAA. In the 1950s when NOBODY was running, the difference between the best and worst runners was obviously not as big as it was in the 1980s.
   75. OCF Posted: November 15, 2007 at 09:14 PM (#2616140)
Dan R:

On the this thread:

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/newsstand/discussion/dugout_central_caimano_clogging_the_bases/

mgl is holding forth with estimates of baserunning value. Can you look at it and tell how your numbers are comparing to what he is getting? Can mgl extend this back through the 80's to look at Raines?
   76. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 15, 2007 at 09:24 PM (#2616155)
I am just using James Click's EqBR numbers, which were only made available to me for the 1972-2005 seasons. Dan Fox of BP has also done some historical baserunning work, and I did check his results against Click's numbers and they matched up pretty well.
   77. Paul Wendt Posted: November 18, 2007 at 12:47 AM (#2618776)
DanR,
Have you ever looked at what Retrosheet has published for 1911 or 1921-22? You wouldn't add any playing careers but the snapshots might be valuable in other ways.
   78. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: November 18, 2007 at 01:36 AM (#2618793)
Ooooh, I'd loooove to see EqBR for those years. I'm'a write Dan Fox to see if he can run them; it'd be terrific to see how my estimation compares to his results.
   79. Paul Wendt Posted: November 18, 2007 at 02:01 AM (#2618806)
The Sherry Magee "dailies" indicate play-by-play for about 50% of Phillies games.

Jimmy Sheckard, about 75% of Cubs games including all but three with the Pirates.

Honus Wagner not playing every day.
Bobby Byrne (3b, leadoff) shows that we lack only 12 of his 153 Pirates games, all on the road in the West. . . . ignoring those ten games Byrne has 21 SB, 29 CS. If I count correctly he is 14/25 thru July 20 and 7/25 thereafter including ten straight times caught stealing beginning at home plate July 27. Good!
Bobby Byrne dailies, 1911 Pirates

EDIT: Adding to this post to test why this thread won't accept posts.
   80. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 28, 2007 at 02:05 AM (#2626635)
test
   81. Howie Menckel Posted: November 28, 2007 at 03:54 AM (#2626715)
Cross-posted on the ballot discussion thread in case some would miss it:

Am I the only guy who isn't quite as impressed with Raines as I expected?

Love the 1983-87, and the SB pct as well.

But after 1987, he only totaled 600 PA 3 times (4 if you count 1994, but who's to say he'd have been healthy anyway?). He's a mostly forgettable part-timer after age 35. His last top 10 in OBP (his bread and butter) came in 1989.

He may grab No. 1 for me because virtually everyone I like has gotten elected. And I'm not saying he's not a HOMer.
But I can see if people like someone else better.

So what am I missing?
   82. Jim Furtado Posted: November 28, 2007 at 03:02 PM (#2626921)
Test.
   83. Mike Green Posted: November 28, 2007 at 03:07 PM (#2626926)
It's the confluence of talents (reaching base, stolen base efficiency and baserunning) that make a great leadoff hitter, Howie. OPS+ doesn't come close to capturing it. The most important spots in the batting order are #1, #2, and #4; Raines filled the #1 slot better than just about anybody.

It is hard to put up a really pretty OBP out of the lead-off slot. OBP goes down and slugging percentage goes up for batters leading off an inning...
   84. DavidFoss Posted: November 28, 2007 at 04:31 PM (#2627021)
test
   85. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 28, 2007 at 05:16 PM (#2627072)
Another test.
   86. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 28, 2007 at 05:17 PM (#2627073)
It works!!!
   87. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 28, 2007 at 05:31 PM (#2627081)
Now that I can do this:

Hey guys, Tango is looking for people to contribute to his Tim Raines HOF site.

He has the shell here:
http://www.raines30.com

There's one article up "Leadoff Hitters", but other than that it's empty for the moment.

Looks like John Brattain, Craig Burley and Jonah Keri have already signed up to contribute.

If you have any interest in contributing, contact Tango through email, there's a 'contact us' link on the bottom left of the page I linked above.
   88. OCF Posted: December 16, 2008 at 01:33 AM (#3029912)
I saw someone here say that if you took Raines's career stats and turned 1000 of his walks into 400 singles and 600 outs, you'd have a worse player who would draw more Hall of Fame votes.

I tried the details on that: as is, Raines had BA/OBP/SLG of .294/.385/.425 and had 2605 hits and 1330 walks. 1000 walks into 400 singles and 600 outs would have changed his BA/OBP/SLG to .304/.327/.423 with 3005 hits and 330 walks - a quite significantly worse player but one with 3000 hits and a .300 BA. Of course, his runs scored would have to come down with that, and his SB as well, since he wouldn't have been on base as much.

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