Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines beat out different kinds of stupidity to get in Hall of Fame
Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines are both finally in the Hall of Fame, where they belong.
The two, along with Ivan Rodriguez, were voted into Cooperstown on Wednesday. It was Rodriguez’s first year on the ballot, and he was a deserving shoo-in, as he is the greatest hitting catcher to ever play the game.
Bagwell and Raines? It took longer. A lot longer. They both had to overcome years of voters’ stupidity to get there, and what’s so interesting is how different the stupidity was in each case.
Let’s start with Raines. Tim Raines is probably the second greatest leadoff hitter of all time, trailing only Rickey Henderson. He stole 70+ bases for six straight seasons, and trails only Henderson, Ty Cobb, Lou Brock and Billy Hamilton (the one from the 1800s) in career stolen bases. All of those guys are in the Hall.
He batted .294 with a .385 OBP over 23 seasons, and finished with 2,605 career hits. On paper, it seems pretty obvious. Raines was fantastic at what he did for a long time. But, again, for years, he wasn’t voted in. The question always was: Why? He didn’t have any real steroid accusations (that I know of) so that wasn’t what was keeping him out.
As far as I can tell, the biggest thing that kept Raines out of the Hall of Fame for so long (this was his final year of eligibility) was that he just didn’t seem like a Hall of Famer. He was a seven-time consecutive All Star in Montreal between 1981 and 1987, but never made another All Star Game in the final 14 years of his career. He never hit 50 home runs in a season or even close to that, never won an MVP.
He played the prime of his career in Montreal, a team that is now in Washington creating its own history, so it’s not like he had an organization honoring him every year or pumping up his candidacy. Even during his prime, yeah he was great, but he was doing it up in Montreal. When he came down to…