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.