Tim Raines, baseball’s second greatest leadoff-hitter, deserves HOF nod

The National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be announced Wednesday and Tim Raines name should be part of that announcement.

Raines may have played just 58 games with the Oakland Athletics in 1999 prior to being diagnosed with lupus and missing the rest of the season while undergoing treatment, but he is also considered by many to be the second best leadoff hitter in baseball history after another famous member of the Oakland Athletics, Rickey Henderson.

Rickey is an impossible player to live up to. He is one of the greatest of all-time. Being seen as second to Henderson may as well be being seen as being the best.

Rickey is untouchable, but does that mean that Raines doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame? Of course not.

Being the leadoff hitter is a key position that sets the stage for the middle of the order.

Leadoff hitters get on base, steal bases and score runs. It’s one of the most important positions in the lineup.

Raines might be the best the sport has seen besides Henderson, who as noted is untouchable in this respect.

Raines has a higher on-base percentage (.385) than Lou Brock (.343) and stole bases at a similar rate as Brock, the man whose base stealing records Henderson eclipsed, to establish himself as the “greatest of all-time.”

Besides his position as being a likely the second greatest leadoff hitter to ever play the sport, the long-time Montreal Expo was a seven-time all-star, including in his rookie season.

He placed second to legendary Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Fernando Valenzuela in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1981.

With a career .294 batting average and .385 OBP along with 1330 stolen bases and 1571 total runs scored Raines deserves a HOF nod.

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March 31, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics former player Rickey Henderson throws out the ceremonial first pitch before an opening day baseball game against the Cleveland Indians at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Beyond that he led the league from 1981-1984 in stolen bases, swiping 90 bags in 1983.

He also led the league in runs scored twice and doubles once.

Raines won the batting title in 1986 hitting .334 on the year, while also leading the league in OBP, getting on base at a .413 clip.

Those stats are pretty incredible right there alone.

In his 23-year-career, Raines spent most of it in Rickey Henderson’s shadow but that doesn’t mean he did not put up Hall of Fame numbers. He absolutely did.

It’s Raines’ final year on the HOF ballot and his name should be the first announced Thursday.

He had an amazing career and put up some unbelievable numbers. Raines should become one of the 2017 inductees to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

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