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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tim Raines: not MVP, not Hall of Fame. Rickey Henderson Lite.

Tim Raines?  Really?  Too many baseball writers are filling their Hall of Fame ballots to the max to include players like Tim Raines. They're so screwed up that they are omitting Mike Piazza, the greatest hitting catcher of all time, to include guys like Raines because they are in a panic that Raines has already been rejected seven times:
Hall of Fame 
2008 BBWAA (24.3%) 
2009 BBWAA (22.6%) 
2010 BBWAA (30.4%) 
2011 BBWAA (37.5%) 
2012 BBWAA (48.7%) 
2013 BBWAA (52.2%) 
2014 BBWAA (46.1%)


Here is some common sense perspective.

Greatest leadoff hitter: who was the greatest number two hitter? Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson is touted by many as MLB's greatest leadoff hitter.  This is used as justification for also electing Tim Raines to the Hall of Fame in that Raines is very similar to Henderson just not quite as good.

Henderson played in 3,081 games from 1979 through 2003.   Raines played in 2,502 games from 1979 through 2002.  Say, that's not even close.  Henderson had 13,346 plate appearances (PA).   Raines 10,359.  Henderson OPS+ 136.   Raines 123 in 3,000 fewer PA.  Henderson set the records for stolen bases (SB):  1,406  career, 130 season.   Raines: 808 career (5th), season high 90, topped by Henderson four times.

Both played the easiest defensive position, left field.  Both had the speed to play center field.  They get added defensive brownie points for being compared to weak fielding players in left who could hit but not field well.  Actually, Henderson played 446 games in center, mostly for the Yankees.   Raines played 165 in center and 53 at second.

OK, so  Raines is not really that close to Henderson ...


Doesn't it bother anyone that the two the greatest leadoff hitters of all time are so similar and played almost exactly at the same time?  Doesn't that suggest a problem with the designation, especially if Henderson did not displace someone?
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Henderson:
MVP (yr lg (rk, shr)) 
1980 AL (10, 13%) 
1981 AL (2, 79%) 
1982 AL (10, 10%) 
1983 AL (24, 0%) 
1985 AL (3, 44%) 
1988 AL (18, 2%) 
1989 AL (9, 17%) 
1990 AL (1, 81%) 
1 MVP 
2.46 Career Shares (58th)


Raines:
MVP (yr lg (rk, shr)) 
1981 NL (19, 4%) 
1983 NL (5, 25%) 
1984 NL (11, 12%) 
1985 NL (12, 4%) 
1986 NL (6, 28%) 
1987 NL (7, 24%) 
1989 NL (17, 1%) 
0.99 Career Shares (254th)


Clearly Henderson was considered much more valuable and generally a better player at the time that each played. Let's look at their offensive WAR, which does not include suspect fielding stats.

Henderson:
Offensive WAR† †s c a p y 
1980 AL  6.9 (2nd) 
1981 AL  4.3 (3rd) 
1982 AL  5.7 (6th) 
1983 AL  5.9 (6th) 
1984 AL  6.0 (5th) 
1985 AL  8.6 (1st) 
1986 AL  5.6 (4th) 
1988 AL  6.0 (7th) 
1989 AL  6.0 (4th) 
1990 AL  8.3 (1st) 
1992 AL  5.3 (9th) 
1993 AL  6.2 (8th) 
Career  104.3 (16th)


Raines:
Offensive WAR† †s c a p y 
1981 NL  3.2 (7th) 
1983 NL  5.8 (4th) 
1984 NL  6.5 (2nd) 
1985 NL  6.7 (4th) 
1986 NL  6.0 (3rd) 
1987 NL  5.9 (6th) 
Career  68.4 (63rd)


When they played:
Who didn't think that Rickey Henderson was a Hall of Famer?
Who thought that Tim Raines was a Hall of Famer?

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