Aw man, sorry for being out-of-the-loop for a minute there, guys. Got caught up in the holidaze and, well, there wasn't any pressing news that needed to be covered anyhow. One guy who hasn't let the year-end festivities slow him down, is my old pal, Rich Lederer, who has a terrific Q&A with veteran baseball writer Tracy Ringolsby up at The Baseball Analysts. Here's a bit about Rock Raines:
Rich: You sent me an email last year, saying that you had come around on Blyleven. I commend you for being open minded on the subject and changing your vote. My next project is to have you see the light on Raines. I would be remiss if I let the comparison to Coleman go by without comment. Yes, they both played left field, led off, and stole a lot of bases. But, other than that, the difference between Raines and Coleman is like night and day. Raines hit .294/.385/.425; Coleman, .264/.324/.345. That's 141 points of OPS. Over the course of their careers, Raines got on base twice as often and had twice as many total bases as Coleman.
I know you referenced their top five years, but the truth is that Raines (.334/.413/.476 with an OPS+ of 151) was a much better player than Coleman (.292/.340/.400 with an OPS+ of 104) at their respective peaks, too. I don't think the five-year numbers are much different. We agree on Coleman. He's not a Hall of Famer. But we disagree on Raines. I believe he is very worthy. I hope you keep an open mind on Raines and give him a closer look next year.
Tracy: That's probably not the only one we disagree on. Raines will have to get in line for me, behind Dawson and Murphy and Rice, while I still try and sort those three out. I know there is support for each of them, but I guess what I have the hardest time dealing with is why Rice's support seems stronger when I would put him third out of the three, and I'm not convinced yet on any of the three. Now that's where a vote gets difficult because I have so much respect for the people that Dawson and Murphy are that it is hard not to put them on my ballot.
With all due respect, how long does it take to sort out candidates like Dawson, Murphy and Rice, guys who have been on the ballot for a good while now? I read one baseball writer's list recently, and a guy he voted for last year isn't get his vote this year, and vice versa. It's frustrating to read about the voting process at times, but, ah, what am I getting steamed for? This is the Hall of Fame we're talking about. Tom Yawkey's got a plaque in the jernt. Never mind.