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Perry makes an early case for Raines

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In the aftermath of the 2007 Hall of Fame announcements, it seems I wasn't the only one with the '08 probables on their mind. Fox Sports' Dayn Perry makes a case for Tim Raines, and unfortunately harbors the same fears that he'll be on the outside looking a year from now.

As for Raines, he deserves induction. Raines played for 23 seasons, and he distinguished himself as a tremendous on-base threat and one of the best base-stealers of all-time. Consider his dossier:
  • He ranks 68th all-time with 2,605 career hits.
  • He ranks fifth all-time with 808 steals.
  • He ranks 32nd all-time with 1,330 walks.
  • He ranks 46th all-time with 1,571 runs scored.
  • He ranks 38th all-time with 3,977 times on base.
  • He ranks 98th all-time with 3,771 total bases.
  • He ranks 93rd all-time with 76 sac flies.
  • He ranks 46th all-time with 2,502 games played.
  • He led the league in steals four times, in doubles once, in runs scored twice, and in times on base three times.
  • He won one batting title and once led the league in on-base percentage.
  • He made seven All-Star teams and won one Silver Slugger award.
That, folks, is a Hall-of-Fame career. In the voters eyes, Raines might suffer from comparisons to Rickey Henderson, a player of similar yet superior skills. However, that's a bit unfair; Henderson is one of the 10 greatest players ever, so very few compare favorably to him. As well, Raines' career power numbers (170 homers, .425 SLG) don't stand out among left fielders. This isn't entirely fair since Raines did so many other things so well, but it might be held against him when it comes time for writers to fill out their ballots. Raines unquestionably deserves a plaque in Cooperstown, but it seems unlikely he'll get one on the first ballot.
It's never too early to start campaigning.