Nearly rubbing Bubba Morton (4.3 WAR ... never sniffed a ballot) salt into the wound.
I almost don’t want to write this because, as anyone who reads this site knows, I am a huge Tim Raines fan. Huge. OK, maybe I’m not quite at the Jonah Keri level, but I’m a big fan and I absolutely believe that he is a Hall of Famer. I have made that argument many times. I have made that argument based on Raines’ greatness compared to the players who are actually in the Hall of Fame right now. As I wrote here, of the 11 left fielders that the BBWAA has voted into the Hall of Fame, Raines is comfortably in the middle. He was, I think, a better player than Ralph Kiner or JIm Rice or even a great player he resembled, Lou Brock. His career value was very similar to right fielder Tony Gwynn’s … it’s just that Gwynn’s greatness came in obvious and bold colors (lots of hits, absurdly high batting averages, batting crowns galore, Gold Gloves galore) while Raines’ greatness tended to be cloaked in drab gray (lots of walks, extraordinary base stealer, lots of runs scored, a lot of value as a part-time player later in his career).
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Tim Raines should be in the Hall of Fame.
So here comes to the counterintuitive part: If I was only given three votes—and this is even if I was told to skip over Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and Pete Rose—I would not vote for Tim Raines.
...Tim Raines … great player. Belongs in the Hall. But is he one of the three best players not in the Hall? No. I don’t think so. I don’t think he’s particularly close. That’s not a knock on his awesomeness, it’s simple reality. I put together this list of the highest WAR (I average Baseball Reference and Fangraphs WAR) for non Hall of Famers. Let’s see how far down we have to go to get to Tim Raines.
...13. John Smoltz (72.5 WAR … eligible 2015)
14. Lou Whitaker (71.5 WAR … off ballot)
15. Kevin Brown (71.3 WAR … off ballot)
You will notice that we are 15 deep now, and we till haven’t gotten to Tim Raines. Truth is, we still have quite a long way to go.
Posted: September 23, 2013 at 03:45 AM | 127 comment(s)
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