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In the weeks ahead we’re going to hear and read cases for just about every player on the Hall of Fame ballot. It’s safe to assume though that no players’ prospects will be debated more than former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines.
If you don’t believe us, consider that Raines’ Hall of Fame bid became a topic of discussion in the Canadian Parliament on Wednesday. House of Commons member Chris Bittle took the floor to speak on Raines’ behalf and gave a full-fledged endorsement.
“I rise today to speak of an upcoming ballot. This is not a member of the Minister of Democratic Institutions. I am, Mr. Speaker, speaking about the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot,” Bittle said. “Though it may seem unusual to speak about baseball on this frigid week in Ottawa, a player is on the ballot in his final year of eligibility and worthy of our support: Tim Raines.”
Bittle, the representative for St. Catharines of southern Ontario, did not speak long, but did speak passionately about Raines. It’s a passion that’s shared by many fans and writers, many of whom believe Raines’ numbers, consistency and longevity make him worthy of election. But that passion hasn’t been enough to sway voters.
There’s hope this year will be different, because it might represent Raines’ last real chance for election. This will be his tenth and final year on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, meaning he’d have to rely on the typically stingy Veteran’s Committee in the future.
Raines’ would need 75-percent of the vote for election. He finished with 69.8 percent last year. If his case is examined more urgently by voters this year, it might be enough to make up the difference. But all any of us can do, including the Canadian Parliament, is wait and hope for one of baseball’s all-time greats.
BLS H/N: Cut 4
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