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Montreal Expos' great Tim Raines falls short of election to Baseball Hall of Fame

Montreal Expos' great Tim Raines inched closer to election to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, appearing on 69.8% of the ballots cast. Will he make it into the Hall next year, in the last year he can be elected by the BBWAA? After that it's up to the Veterans Committee.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Back in 2011, Tim Raines jumped from 30.4% to 37.5% of the vote in support of his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, as voted on by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. That winter, Raines talked about why he thought he was not getting the support necessary (75%) to make it into the Hall, explaining how the era and the city he played in might be at least partially responsible.

Raines, now 56, played for 23 seasons total from 1979-2002, collecting 2,605 hits overall, 430 doubles, 113 triples, 170 HR's, 980 RBIs and 808 steals, finishing his career with a .294/.385/.425 line.

His 808 stolen bases are the fifth most in major league history, behind only Ty Cobb (897), Billy Hamilton (914), Lou Brock (938) and Rickey Henderson (1,406).

"I think those first eleven years, being in Montreal, and being compared to Rickey Henderson is tougher, because this guy plays in Montreal, [and] no one really looked at the Expos as a team that compared to teams in the States..." -Tim Raines on Hall of Fame candidacy on MLB Network Radio

"Especially after my era," Raines theorized, "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," he said.

"So hopefully guys are looking at those guys during the Steroid Era and saying well these guys did it without steroids I think they deserve it a little more than the guys [from the Steroid Era]."

Nothing against the city itself, but it didn't help, in his mind, that he played in Montreal for the first eleven years of his career, and played at the same time as the All-Time steals leader.

"I think those first eleven years, being in Montreal, and being compared to Rickey Henderson is tougher," Raines told MLB Network Radio that winter, "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 jumped to 48.7% of the vote in 2012, received 52.2% in 2013 and fell to 46.1% in 2014 before jumping back up to 55.0% in 2015.

This time around, the former Expo, Chicago White Sock, New York Yankee, Oakland A, Baltimore Oriole and Florida Marlin fell short again, receiving 69.8% of the vote in his next-to-last year on the ballot.

The prevailing sentiment seems to be that he will make in next season. If he doesn't make it next year, it will be up to the Veterans Committee.

Raines, on Twitter, thanked everyone for their support after tonight's results were revealed:

Congratulations to the two players who were elected to the Hall of Fame tonight: