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Washington Nationals' Franchise History: Montreal Expos' OF Tim Raines On Rickey Henderson: "I Think We're A Lot Closer Than People Really Expect."

The Stade Olympique in Montreal, QC, where potential future Hall of Famer Tim Raines played 11 major league seasons with the Montreal Expos. (photo © Ed Chigliak)
The Stade Olympique in Montreal, QC, where potential future Hall of Famer Tim Raines played 11 major league seasons with the Montreal Expos. (photo © Ed Chigliak)

I'm still not sure about the process by which players are elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and how a player is somehow qualified in his third or fourth appearance on the ballot if he wasn't the first time through since none of these player's numbers change from year to year, but Tim "Rock" Raines, the one-time Montreal Expos' outfielder and potential future Hall of Fame-er told Inside Pitch hosts Jim Bowden and Casey Stern yesterday in a Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio interview that he thinks he might know why: 

Tim Raines: "Especially after my era, the Steroid Era came in and then guys were putting up ungodly numbers...not to say that they took steroids, but during my day there was no talk about steroids and guys just played the game. I think it's kind of difficult for a reporter to look at guys of today and guys of yesterday and compare because of the Steroid Era. So hopefully guys are looking at those guys during the Steroid Era and saying well these guys [from his era] did it without steroids I think they deserve it a little more than the guys [from the Steroid Era]."

The veteran of 23 MLB seasons jumped from 30.4% to 37.5% of the 75% of the votes necessary for election into the Hall in his fourth year on the ballot. Raines says he's happy that he continues to gain support. The fact that he played at the same time as Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, and also played 11 seasons in Montreal affected the perception of Raines as a player in his mind. "I think those first 11 years, being in Montreal, and being compared to Rickey Henderson is tougher," Raines said, "...because this guy plays in Montreal, [and] no one really looked at the Expos as a team that compared to teams in the states during that time. We didn't have the coverage and media attention, so sure you heard my name, but a lot of people didn't actually see the differences between myself and Rickey, and I think we're a lot closer than people really expect."

Raines, in 23 seasons had 2,605 hits, 430 doubles, 113 triples, 170 HR's, 980 RBI's, 808 steals, .a 294/.385/.425 slash line and was a 7-time All-Star, who finished his career and remains 5th on the list of All-Time Career Stolen Base leaders. For argument's sake, Rickey Henderson, the All-Time Stolen Base Leader with 1,406, posted a .279/.401/.419 slash line over 25 major league seasons, with 3,055 hits, 510 doubles, 66 triples, 297 HR's and 1,115 RBI's. 

Casey Stern said he had spoken to Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson once about the importance of the two players in the Hall as Montreal Expos (Andre Dawson and Gary Carter) wearing those caps because it preserved and told the history of baseball in Montreal, and said that in his opinion, "There's no way to tell that story [of the Expos'] franchise without having your name in the Hall of Fame." "Exactly," Raines said, "and hopefully that will be something that will guide those reporters who really didn't know the history of Montreal, and of the players in Montreal and of the city, of the franchise, and maybe that will be the telling point to get me in." 

With Dawson, Carter, Raines, Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker, Vladimir Guerrero, Orlando Cabrera all coming from Montreal, the Expos will never be forgotten by fans of the team, with Raines joining his fellow Expos in the Hall, all of baseball will remember...but does Raines deserve to make it into the Hall?