Dan Plesac—No, though if there were a prize for having the best ERA+ from 1986 to 1989 among all pitchers with at least 275 innings pitched he would have won it. Of course if there were such a prize the person handing it out would be too busy getting punched in the face to actually award it. But it’s hardly nothing. Plesac’s broadcast work in Chicago was notable for his high coming off as a nice guy:saying interesting things ratio; I understand he’s now with the MLB Network but I wouldn’t know as the demonic figures who run Comcast refuse for some reason to make it available in my house.
Tim Raines—Yes, of course. I doubt it’s an original point, but Raines is one of the Hall candidates who suffers most from circumstances entirely out of his control. I think what’s hurt his case more than anything is that if you look over his Baseball Reference page, it looks as if he broke in as a part timer in 1981 at 21, had a nice five year run, began to break down, and then finished out his career as a part-timer. This just isn’t true. 1981 was a strike year, in which his 88 games were the equivalent of 136; in 1987 he missed the first month of the year, and quite possibly an MVP award, due to collusion; in the 1994 and 1995 strike years he wasn’t at the top of his game, but he was a full-timer, playing the equivalent of 149 and 144 games.
It isn’t just that the strikes and collusion cost him nearly a full season of playing time, but that they shape the statistical narrative of his career so much. Of course Raines also spent his prime in a pitcher’s park in Canada in an era of moderate offense, played left field not because he couldn’t handle center but because the Montreal Expos had a star incumbent at the position, and was overshadowed through his whole career by the similar but even better Rickey Henderson. Despite all this he’s still an obvious pick, but it shouldn’t be surprising that a lot of people can’t see it.
BTW…Raines has now climbed up to 27.9%.