Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
No Duh
2007-11-27 05:50
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

There is an undeniably obsessive quality to blogging. Take for instance, Pete Abraham, who finally had some time to himself a few weeks ago when he announced he was going to take a break from posting for a minute. Well, um, he hasn't. Sure, he isn't posting as frequently as he does during the season, but he just can't stay away. Which is good news for the rest of us, as Pete's blog is essential reading for Yankee fans; moreover, I don't know of another mainstream beatwriter who gets blogging more. Try as he might, Pete just can't keep himself from the blog.

Anyhow, the backpages are splashed with photos of Johan Santana today. There is nothing to report other than the fact that the Yankees are one of several teams interested in trading for the Twins' stud southpaw. Yo, tell us something we don't know.

Meanwhile, the latest Hall of Fame candidates were announced yesterday. Tim Raines is in the group. I know many of my saber-minded colleagues--from Jay Jaffe and Steven Goldman to Jonah Keri and Rich Lederer--are all huge Rock Raines fans, and you can expect the bandwagon to beat loudly around the 'Net in the coming months. I'm riding shotgun and there's plenty of room. Climb aboard.

2007-11-27 06:18:56
1.   DadinIowa
FIRST!!! But isn't there fire to the Santana trade smoke?
2007-11-27 06:29:26
2.   JL25and3
Raines was a terrific player whose misfortune was that his career coincided more or less exactly with that of Rickey Henderson.
2007-11-27 06:34:00
3.   mehmattski
What, no Chuck Knoblauch? Paging Keith Olbermann's mom...
2007-11-27 06:43:27
4.   Raf
0 Count me among the Raines fans. I was thrilled when the Yanks acquired him.

2 Playing in Montreal didn't help, I'm sure. IMO Raines is a HoF'er, but who knows how the writers will see it? Especially in the context of how they've treated Blyleven.

Having said that, I wonder if he'll get "extra credit" for being clean (percieved or otherwise) during the steriod era.

2007-11-27 06:51:00
5.   cercle
Raines is most definitely a deserving HOFer IMO, but I could easily see the writers snubbing him. At the very least I expect there will be a significant number of writers who won't vote for him this year because of some "he's not a first ballot guy" nonsense.
2007-11-27 06:52:19
6.   NJYankee41
I would like to see Tim Raines get some serious consideration. He probably won't though. But hey, maybe this will open the door for Goose!

4 As for being clean, he was a cocaine addict. But to his credit he went to rehab and got his life together to enjoy a long career.

2007-11-27 06:56:37
7.   JL25and3
4 , 6 Yeah, he definitely won't get credit for being clean.
2007-11-27 07:02:40
8.   rsmith51
My imaginary ballot:


2007-11-27 07:05:54
9.   Raf
6 ,7 I meant "clean" in the context of steroids. By and large, that's the hot button issue nowadays, and I think the writers will make players who are percieved to have used "pay" by not voting them in on the first ballot, if they vote them in at all.
2007-11-27 07:07:35
10.   Sliced Bread
I think Raines should skate into the Hall.
Just based on stolen bases, and slugging percentage you can see the guy got the job done, and was a weapon his whole career.
I don't think there should be any question that he deserves to be appreciated among the best hitters of his generation.

Damn, those backpage photos of Santana are a jolt. I hate to lose Phil Big Shoes Hughes, but I love the idea of a lights out southpaw like Johan. Decisions, decisions...

2007-11-27 07:10:13
11.   ms october
1 i do think there is fire.

7 yep.
the chronology of the "coke" era and the "steroid" era is interesting. caminiti is one of the few that i can see who bridged it.

8 good ballot.

2007-11-27 07:12:42
12.   Sliced Bread
8 right on.
2007-11-27 07:22:28
13.   NJYankee41
8 I have no idea why Alan Trammell doesn't get any support whatsoever. He was an above average-good hitter, he played good defense at the hardest position and he won a WS MVP. He stacks up pretty well with Barry Larkin, who I think will get in pretty easily. I'm not shedding any new light on his case, but I'm confused as to why he gets almost no support.
2007-11-27 07:33:17
14.   Josh Wilker
If you were starting a franchise and had all the careers of the guys on this year's HOF ballot to choose from, whom would you choose? My first choice is Raines, followed by Trammell and Blyleven. (In addition to those three I also think Goose and--bias alert!--Jim Rice should be in the hall.)
2007-11-27 07:37:36
15.   YankeeInMichigan
8 Goldman and Jaffe both put Trammell in the "no-brainer" category. Jaffe, through his JAWS system, demonstrates that Trammell is more deserving than the vast majority of shortstops in the Hall today. Detroiters use Trammell's snub to feed their national-rejection complex. I believe that it has more to do with being overshadowed by Ripkin on offense and by Ozzie on defense. HoF voters don't like #2s, even if they would have been #1s in most eras. Similarly,
- Blyleven played in the shadow of Nolan Ryan (they even switched leagues at approximately the same times).
- Raines played in the shadow of Rickey.
2007-11-27 07:39:53
16.   Alex Belth
I think you guys are correct--Raines' biggest drawbacks was that he wasn't Rickey and that he played in Montreal. He was the best player to get screwed over by collusion. He also overcame a cocaine problem in his second year in the bigs. I don't think that writers will hold the drug issue against him, as he voluntarily sought treatment and because he was a good guy with the media. But, he didn't hit home runs and walked too much for the taste of most HOF voters. He was on WS champs but it might have been too late. I don't think that he'll get voted in, but that'd be a shame. I remember seeing him play against the Mets at Shea regularly in the early-mid 80s.
2007-11-27 07:42:18
17.   Knuckles
Raines is one of my alltime favorites, dating back to my first years of following baseball. I had his '84 Topps card, in the old Expos blue. He looked fast just printed on cardboard. I saw him play in person for a lot of teams: Expos, Chisox (in spring training, the year Bo was making a comeback with them), Yanks, A's, and an indy team- either the Somerset Patriots or Newark Bears, I forget which.

I was at the 1999 game when Oakland visited the Yanks, and they gave Raines his '98 WS ring. He wasn't playing due to the Lupus, but Torre and maybe one other Yankee met him at home plate with hugs and the ring box, and prompted him to open it. It was empty, and Bernie was standing top step of the Yanks dugout waving they made Rock amble over that way and exchange fist bumps and hugs with the whole team. One of the nicer moments I've ever seen in a ballpark.

2007-11-27 07:49:16
18.   Shaun P
16 I think the trick for Raines is to stay on the ballot long enough for more of the 'younger generation' of writers - guys like Pete Abe - to get their votes. As long as he does, I think he gets in.

Goose has got to be a lock for this year, because most of the writers don't understand that Raines ought to be a 1st ballot HoF'er. Blyleven ought to be in too, but sadly, Rice will probably make it instead. He is undeserving; I'd take Dale Murphy over Rice any day. But I don't think Murphy is deserving either.

8 15 et al - I don't know what's worse, that Trammell doesn't get more support, or that Lou Whitaker isn't even on the ballot anymore.

2007-11-27 07:51:15
19.   joejoejoe
Tim Raines = Wade Boggs minus .048 OPS plus top 5 all-time baserunning skill

Wade Boggs - 10918 PA, .328/.415/.443, 1513 runs, 1014 RBI
Tim Raines --- 10507 PA, .294/.385/.425, 1571 runs, 980 RBI

Boggs was a better hitter but he wasn't a better offensive player than Raines.

2007-11-27 08:05:21
20.   Shaun P
18 D'oh. Pete Abe says he'd only vote for three people this year - Goose, Rice, and Jack Morris. Good Lord, Jack Morris but not Bert Blyleven?!

Maybe Rock is screwed.

2007-11-27 08:08:07
21.   bartap74
20 I was just about to point that out - Pete Abe leaving off Trammell, Raines and Blyleven and including Morris makes me seriously question his credentials.
2007-11-27 08:09:44
22.   Josh Wilker
19 : That's a good comparison, and one I hadn't seen before. The more common one, in which Raines' abilities stand out even more, is with Lou Brock.

Raines: .294/.385/.425

Brock: .293/.343/.410

2007-11-27 08:15:12
23.   tommyl
22 Different eras. Raines was a much better hitter.
2007-11-27 08:15:56
24.   JL25and3
22 The problem with the Brock comparison is that he's definitely one of the Hall's lesser lights. Deserving, on the basis of the SB's and the 3K hits, but nowhere near the player that either Boggs or Raines was.
2007-11-27 08:18:24
25.   Josh Wilker
I agree that Raines was a better hitter, but wasn't Brock's era just as tough if not tougher for hitters than Raines' era? (I hope so, because my feeling that the 1970s were a tough time to be a hitter is one of the strands I cling to in my Jim Rice for HOF arguments.)
2007-11-27 08:18:40
26.   JL25and3
My ballot: Blyleven, Gossage, Raines. And to really stir the pot, probably McGwire as well.
2007-11-27 08:22:16
27.   Bruce Markusen
There's no question that Tim Raines SHOULD be elected to the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, he will not even come close to the 75 per cent needed in his first year on the ballot. Too many of the BBWAA writers don't fully appreciate his greatness, from his ability to get on base to his skill in playing left field. (If you're the second best leadoff man of all time, behind Rickey Henderson, that should get you in.) I also have a feeling that his early-career drug problems are going to be mentioned prominently, even though they weren't in the case of Paul Molitor. I'll let other people take a guess as to why THAT might be.

Only two players have any real chance of getting elected this year: Gossage and Rice. I think Goose will be very close, right near 75 per cent on either side of the line, while I think Rice will get about 70 per cent of the vote. And fans of Bert Blyleven (another deserving candidate) will be disappointed once again.

2007-11-27 08:25:18
28.   tommyl
16 I love the fact that he walked a lot is held against him. Damn guy, clogging up the bases. I think that statement nicely summarizes the idiocy of the BBWAA.
2007-11-27 08:29:29
29.   Shaun P
25 BP's Davenport Translations say

Lou Brock, career translated .302/.355/.456/.811
Jim Rice, career translated .290/.351/.540/.891
Tim Raines, career translated .310/.403/.482/.885

Raines was clearly the better hitter than Brock - and maybe even a better hitter than Rice. OBP is more valuable than SLG, so just adding the 2 penalizes the guys with a high OBP and rewards the guys with a high SLG. A few years ago, Rob Neyer and some readers figured the "proper" way to weigh them would be (1.4 * OBP) + SLG. That would give us:

Brock .953
Rice 1031.4
Raines 1046.2

2007-11-27 08:29:50
30.   JL25and3
27 You mean, because white guys only did drugs recreationally?
2007-11-27 08:32:21
31.   YankeeInMichigan
27 I don't undertand how Goose can miss out this time. He gained votes last year while everyone else (except Concepcion) slipped. Picking up the votes from a bunch of last year's Ripken-and-Gwynn-only ballots should easily put him over the hump.
2007-11-27 08:32:27
32.   mehmattski
22 EQA, adjusted for All-Time by BP:

Brock: .282
Raines: .307

Also, I think Raines would have had a much better chance had he stuck with "Rock." Similarly for Albert Belle and "Joey." And, someday, Coco Crisp and "Covelli."

2007-11-27 08:33:25
33.   Shaun P
29 D'oh - put the decimal in the wrong plac:

Rice 1.0314
Raines 1.0462

Still, Rock is clearly an awesome hitter.

26 FWIW, the DT's have McGwire at .271/.404/.648/1.052, and his weighed OPS would be 1.2136.

I say put the man in.

2007-11-27 08:34:56
34.   Shaun P
32 And, FWIW, Rice's all-time adjusted EqA is .287
2007-11-27 08:35:23
35.   YankeeInMichigan
0 I think Lederer will lie low with his Raines support as long as Byleven is on the ballot.
2007-11-27 08:58:00
36.   dianagramr
My ballot:
Bert Blyleven (way way overdue)
Andre Dawson (merits strong consideration, but only after Jim Rice)
Rich Gossage (no way Sutter should have gotten in before him)
Tommy John (based on longevity and the "novelty" of the surgery at the time)
Jack Morris (yes, but only after Blyleven)
Tim Raines (he might just make it in a few years after Henderson .... not now)
Jim Rice (sure he was surly .... but boy could he play .... yes)
Lee Smith (if Sutter is in there, then yes yes yes)
Alan Trammell (I think both he and Whitaker should be in there)
2007-11-27 09:27:34
37.   Alex Belth
My votes would go to:

Goose, Bert, Alan Trammell and Rock Raines.

2007-11-27 09:38:13
38.   YankeeInMichigan
36 Jack Morris (yes, but only after Blyleven)

Agreed, except I would turn the "yes" into a "maybe." Morris' election would be far from a travesty, especially considering his postseason credentials. But next to Blyleven, he looks pretty weak. On the stats leaderboards from the eightees, Blyleven is generally above Morris, and the eightees weren't even Bert's best decade.

2007-11-27 09:51:40
39.   Josh Wilker
37 : Those four are the cream o' the crop. I'd add Rice on my ballot. The numbers in context are often used to discredit his candidacy, but they are actually pretty good (i.e., equal to or better than some others in the Hall). Also, he seems to have been regarded by his peers as "The Man"; that's got to count for something.
2007-11-27 10:08:06
40.   brockdc
17 I'm not 100 percent on this one, but I'm pretty sure that his '85 Topps card actually had "Rock Raines" printed on it for his official name. Awesome.
2007-11-27 10:20:32
41.   YankeeInMichigan
39 Patrick Sullivan of demonstrates that teammate Dwight Evans was actually more valuable than Rice over the course of their coinciding careers:
2007-11-27 10:30:17
42.   Alex Belth
That's an old Bill James arguement, Evans over Rice. Then again, James has also argued that Roy White was more valuable over the course of his career than Rice. Rice is borderline to me. I wouldn't bitch if he made it, and his career numbers are probably better, but I wouldn't put him in, as a feared hitter, before Dick Allen.
2007-11-27 10:42:22
43.   Knuckles
40 Yeah, one year did, though I think it was '90. Gooden also went by 'Doc' on his card the same year. It was the year the border was a Glamorshots-hideous background. I only remember this because I got an uncut sheet of them from somewhere and it hung on my wall for years.

Tangential...brockdc, I skimmed some comments over the weekend, and another Banterer was heading down our way (DC/VA). Do you remember who it was? Have they moved yet?

2007-11-27 10:43:06
44.   Josh Wilker
41 : Thanks for the link to that article. It makes a lot of sense, but my biased solution would be to put 'em both in the Hall.

42 : I think I remember Bill James tearing into Dick Allen for being an extrememly malignant presence on his teams. I don't know how James got that info, but since I trust him implicitly I've allowed it to influence my opinion of Allen. Jim Rice, on the other hand, though often painted as a surly guy, was made captain of the Red Sox after Yaz retired, evidence that he was respected as a team leader.

2007-11-27 13:21:01
45.   Alex Belth
I think James was WAY off on Allen, and he was proven incorrect in a SABR piece written by Craig Wright several years back. Check out Allen Barra's piece on D.A. in the 1964 chapter of the Baseball Prospectus book on Pennant Races.

Jimbo Rice. Good stuff on him in Howard Bryant's "Shut Out." He once threatened to stuff Tom Boswell in a garbage can. I also remember him going into the left field stands at Yankee Stadium after a heckler in the 80s. Anyone else recall that?

2007-11-27 14:52:33
46.   greenzo
While I have no problem with Blyleven making it into the hall, my sense is that his near-inclusion has made him more known to this generation of baseball fans than his career itself merits.

At the same time, Mark McGwire is regretting putting that needle into his posterior right about now. For those who would vote for him, do you just not care that he used steroids, or are you embracing the Bondsian "he-would-have-made-it-anyway" logic?

2007-11-27 15:32:58
47.   JL25and3
46 A little of both. When McGwire played, steroids were against baseball rules only because they were illegal substances. In other words, they were exactly the same (under MLB rules) as cocaine or marijuana; they were illegal but not "cheating." (In fact, I believe andro wasn't even illegal at the time, so it wasn't against the rules at all.)

I don't think it's quite fair to punish him now under a different set of rules - even if we had positive test results, which we don't.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.