SocraticGadfly: Tim Raines — Hall of Fame or not?

December 26, 2012

Tim Raines — Hall of Fame or not?

Tim Raines, now that Bert Blyleven is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, has become a focus for some sabermetrically inclined fans as to the next "overlooked" candidate who should be in the Hall.

And, to be honest, I'm of two minds about Raines, now in his third year on the ballot.

One of the newest stats is Wins Above Average. It goes Wins Above Replacement one better in that it compares the player in question to a theoretically average MLB player rather than, with WAR, a player theoretically just called up from AAA ball. (That said, I do NOT like Baseball-Reference's WAR7 stat because it's not based on consecutive years and therefore, theoretically, does not measure a "peak." That then said, I'd like a P-WAR5, or a P-WAA5, where we had a five-year consecutive peak — I think seven is too long — based on either WAR or WAA, preferably the latter.)

Anyway, an eyeball on HOF candidates, and some lower-level members of the HOF, says that 35 WAA is probably about the cutoff line on this new stat.

And, Raines is right there.

OK, let's look at the case for and against him. (And please, any commenters, do not cite that Lou Brock is already in the HOF as a way to boost Raines' candidacy. I know Brock is an iffy HOFer, and were it not for the single-season and career stolen base records he had at the time, along with 3,000 hits as a counting stat, he might not be in there now. And, as a Cardinal homer, I can say he probably shouldn't be, or definitely shouldn't be without those then records.)

But, at the same time, Brock makes a handy comparison.

Raines has a better stolen base percentage. He has a much better BB/K ratio, a much better on-base percentage, and slightly better slugging even while having the fewer strikeouts. And, while neither was great in the outfield, Raines wasn't as bad.

The biggest negative is he has less black and gray ink than Brock does. And of course, for both of them, most the black and gray ink comes in the stolen base category.

All in all, I'd say Raines is deserving of the Hall. At the same time, if he has to wait another year, I wouldn't be crushed by that. On the third hand, dependent on some voters changing their minds on roiding, if he doesn't get in this year, it could be a long wait.

Note: This is part of a series on HOF candidates. I've already tackled Dale Murphy, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens in context of roiding, and a bit of Jack Morris, who I've covered extensively in the past, as I have Edgar Martinez. (I've said "no" on both ... with multiple exclamation marks on Morris.) Click the "MLB Hall of Fame" tag for more on other candidates.

Now, a little background to my Hall of Fame blogging —

I am a "small Hall" guy. In fact, I think there's plenty of people we should vote back OUT of Cooperstown. Here's some pitchers, and some batters, looking just at the modern baseball era, who need the boot.

Oh, and while you're here, please vote in my poll. 

And, click the  "MLB Hall of Fame" tag for more on other candidates on this year's ballot and my thoughts.

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