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The Baseball Writers Association of America has spoken. Tim Raines is one of three players to have been voted into the Hall of Fame, along with Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez. Raines garnered 86 percent of the vote, well above the 75 percent he needed to be inducted.
It took Raines the full ten years to be voted into the Hall of Fame. Raines debuted on the 2008 ballot at just 24.3 percent and slowly climbed upward. The big jumps came in his last few years as his case gained momentum thanks to advanced stats and fervent support from the internet: he hit 55 percent in 2015 after gaining 8.9 percent, 69.8 percent in 2016 after gaining 14.8 percent, and finally 86 percent in 2017 after 16.2 percent.
After a 23-year career with six teams (in which he batted .294/.385/.425 with 808 stolen bases) and 10 years on the ballot, Raines was full of gratitude about his Hall of Fame election, and he let it all out on Twitter.
Here’s what he said:
I was extremely honored and humbled to have received the call today that I will be enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s the perfect way [to] cap my 23-year career. When I began playing professional baseball, I just wanted to be one of the best at my position. I wasn’t thinking of Cooperstown. But now that I will be inducted this summer, I am overcome with a wave of emotion and I am so excited to share this honor with my family. I would like to thank everyone who helped me become who I was on the baseball field, including my family and teammates. I would like to thank everyone in the media who advocated for my hall of fame candidacy. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that this honor was so important to you as well. Lastly, I want to thank the fans from all of the cities that I played in. You gave me strength and support to do things I did on the field. And merci Montreal. See you all in Cooperstown this summer.
On MLB Network, Raines said he was home with his wife and daughters, his in-laws, and his agent when he got the call. “We were just sitting around, hoping that the phone would ring, and when it rung… a lot of excitement.” I’m sure “a lot of excitement” is a bit of an understatement.
This was Raines’ final year on the ballot, and he said on MLB Network that this was the first year that he actually lost sleep over his vote totals. Now that the voting is over there won’t be any more lost sleep for Raines, since he’s headed to Cooperstown. (Unless he’s losing sleep over his Hall of Fame speech. Don’t sweat it, Tim!)
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