Tim Raines and Edgar Martinez
goody gumdrops, a game of Guess the Connection


SABRMatt celebrates Tim Raines by listing him the #3 ballplayer of the 1980's.  Moe follows on,


Rock Raines was a tremendous ballplayer, wasn't he.  There was a year or two or three where I felt he was the best player in the game. From '82-'87 he was a tremendous bat, on base more than 40% of the time AND he was stealing 70 bases a season.  Oh, he was a 50+ XB hit guy, too.


Seattle Sports Insider is building an inclusive environment; the moral beauty of the website is that literally anybody can force a comment on others (Make the Shout Box Great Again!).  In that spirit, even I have an idea about Tim Raines.  

About the time Ken Griffey Jr. was dragging the Mariners into MLB(TM) status, I remember the debate as being "Rickey or Raines?!" as the prototype leadoff hitter in baseball history.  Both players were able to splice Dustin Pedroia with Josh Donaldson with Billy Hamilton, to the tune of about 8-9 runs per 27 outs and 120-130 runs scored.  

In 1985 Rickey stole 90 bases while hitting 24 home runs and walking a hundred times ... and yet nobody was quite sure who was the greater player, Raines or Henderson.  Which was a little like saying there was used to be this center fielder named Willie Mays, and it was between him and one other guy who was better.

Rickey did outlast Raines by about 3,000 at-bats, but they still finished with career RC/27's of 6.6 and 6.8 respectively.  You guess which was which.


It's a funny thing that --- > just lately I read a years-old piece, which argued about naming:

1) The best ballplayer ever, who

2) Did badly in the MVP voting.

The article listed Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez... Jim Thome and two other guys I can't remember which.

:: shrug :: Raines finished meekly in the top 10 three times, low in the top 20 four more times.  His MVP "shares" were 0.99, which means you add up all his votes and they don't quite get him one MVP.  That's #258 all time.  Contrast Rickey at 2.60 shares, #60 all time, and the difference between the two was not their prime seasons.

Edgar got 1.01 career "MVP shares," finishing #3 in that 1995 Refuse to Lose season.  Historical note:  Albert Belle vs Edgar for MVP that year, that was the second big internet flame war that Silentpadna and I ever fought against the Out-of-Towners (OFT'ers).

Anyway, I thought it was kind of interesting to think about the connection between big, memorable MVP seasons and the Hall of Fame vote.  These two guys were unappreciated from start to finish.






I remember having that same internal argument....and maybe external with a good friend:  Henderson or Raines?  Take your pick.  In that same '82-'87 period, Ricky was hittting .290, getting on base at a .400 clip, stealing 95 bases (well, 130 in '82) AND whacking out 55 xB hits.  

But there was a time when I thought Rock Raines was the better:  From '85-'87 he averaged about .328-415-.492!  But he was stuck on some middling teams (figure on 3rd place in the East) and Andre Dawson was the BMOC on the Montreal campus. Or Galarraga.  Ranes was alwasy a bit n their shadow.  Oh, he was in Montreal, too.  Isn't that up near Oslo?  Who paid attention to Montreal??

A nd when he first came up those teams belonged to Gary Carter.

In '83 the Expos went 82-80 and had THREE HoF'ers.  They were '78-'83 the next season.  Sigh.

Henderson had the more gaudy SB numbers, but for long stretches Raines was the better player.  He deserves to be in.


I can't believe Vladdy wasn't first ballot.  He is the all time Mariner killer.  He has the lifetime .318/.379/.553 slash line.  He hit ballls from anywhere, inside or outside of the zone, just like Ichiro, but slow with huge power.  As Doc often says, the Hall of Fame only delegitimizes itself when it keeps the best players out for arbitrary or unknown reasons.  

Arne's picture

Raines probably got dinged a bit in the MVP voting because of him using cocaine; similarly, Dave Parker did not do well in the HOF voting. It's part of the interesting question of how much players should be penalized for using illegal performance non-enhancing drugs, and other criminal actions.


(Not your specific debates)

Rickey was always my favorite, though I liked Raines as well.  It was in searching stats about the Rickey vs. Raines prototype discussion that a as a pre-teen I first really discovered Ty Cobb.  And the 8.84 RC/27 he put up dominates the discussion.  This with an unusual inner circle HOF late career fade from 34 on.  He's still 5th overall with 2517 runs created, though he retired in 1st.  All sluggers ahead of him.   Well, more slugging players.  Nobody that high is one dimensional.  Career RC is a different discussion though.  Rickey 2164, Raines 1636 (5 more than Edgar in 5 more years). 1636 isn't a whole lot more than Lou Brock at 1512 and he played 4 less seasons than Raines.

Cobb retired as SB champion and the number is still impressive. Brock doesn't fully stack up to them otherwise, though he also retired as SB champion.  But in my group it was a 4 player debate.  Rickeys leadoff HR record of 81 always stuck with me too.  That's like every home game for a whole year.  As did the perfect nickname "Instant Offense".  Had the BB record until Bonds...Not all roses though.  Ryan's 5000th K, but he never stole a base off him.  When people say there's no affected change from who's before or after someone in a lineup I assume they never watched a pitcher dealing with the split focus of a Rickey on base situation.  Or Raines, either Hamilton, etc.

Thank Dipoto, we've finally got some of that again. 

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