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David Brown

Long live Les Expos! Elect Dawson and Raines next year

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Baseball's Hall of Fame now and forever links Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson because both will enter its grounds as members this summer.

Their respective elections, however, raise an important question.

Does this pave the induction path for a couple of excellent Expos?

No, baseball's forgotten francophones might not exist anymore (c'est la vie), but Les Expos have two outstanding players whose Hall election also is outstanding.

Andre Dawson and Tim Raines.

Dawson and Raines found themselves short of the necessary 75 percent vote on this season's ballot — the Hawk got an oh-so-close 67 percent, while the Rock got a disgraceful 23 percent — but both can make excellent Hall cases to join Gary Carter in the future.

How awesome would it be for Dawson and Raines to go in together, just like the '81 NLDS? (Curse you, Rick Monday!)

Dawson, aside from possessing greater speed and better defense, is almost Rice's statistical twin. Rice's offensive numbers look better, but if you account for Dawson playing most of his career in the National League and not in Fenway Park, it's a lot closer.

Here's how Dawson and Rice compare:

  • All-Star Games: Dawson (eight, including seven starts); Rice (eight, including four starts)
  • MVPs: Dawson (one, among four top-seven finishes); Rice (one, among six top-five finishes)
  • Dawson stats: .279/.323/.482; 2,774 hits; 438 HRs; 1,373 runs; 1,591 RBIs; 314 steals
  • Rice stats: .298/.352/.502; 2,452 hits; 382 HRs; 1,249 runs; 1,451 RBIs; 58 steals
  • Gold Gloves: Dawson (eight); Rice (zero)

Few players in any era compare well with Henderson, who might have been the most dangerous player in the majors between Willie Mays and Barry Bonds. Raines, who actually lost ground among the voters this year, was valuable for the same reasons Rickey was valuable — he just wasn't as good as Rickey.

But that's not like saying Devon White wasn't as good as Rickey. If Henderson scores, say, a 98 on the Hall of Fame test (and 90 qualifies for the Hall) Raines should get a 91.

Here's a look at Raines vs. Henderson:

  • All-Star Games: Henderson (10, including seven starts); Raines (seven, including two starts)
  • MVPs: Henderson (one, six top-10 finishes); Raines (zero, three top-10 finishes)
  • Henderson stats: .279/.401/.419 ; 3,055 hits; 297 HRs; 2,295 runs; 1,115 RBIs; 1,406 steals
  • Raines stats: .294 /.385/.425; 2,605 hits; 170 HRs; 1,571 runs; 980 RBIs; 808 steals
  • Gold Gloves: Henderson (one); Raines (zero)
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