VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Tim Raines says he doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Raines fell 23 votes shy of the necessary 75 percent this month, and next year’s ballot will be the 10th and final time he is eligible for consideration by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
“It matters, but it doesn’t,” the former Montreal Expos star said Friday. “If it happens, I’m going to be a very excited older guy. If it doesn’t, then it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Raines stole 808 bases in the major leagues, surpassing 70 every year from 1981-86 with Montreal. He won two World Series titles with the New York Yankees and finished with a .294 career average.
Raines, who spent 12 of his 23 seasons with the Expos, appeared on 69.8 percent of the BBWAA ballots this year, up from 55 percent in 2015.
“I don’t think it’s frustrating. It’s a process,” Raines said. “There’s been a number of guys who took a long time to get into the Hall of Fame. It’s the final piece of my career. It’s the final chapter. I have one year left, and my fingers are still crossed to hopefully one day get the phone call.”
Currently a roving outfield and base-running coordinator for the Toronto Blue Jays, the 56-year-old says he’s intrigued that advanced metrics have been helping him gain support with some voters.
“It’s kind of mind-boggling,” said Raines, who was in Vancouver for a team function with the single-A Canadians. “I didn’t really know I did all those things those guys say I did.”
Only two players have been inducted into the Hall wearing Expos caps, Gary Carter in 2003 and Andre Dawson in 2010.
“That’s where I grew up,” Raines said. “I really call Montreal home because I was a 19-year-old kid playing in the major leagues.”
Raines was interviewed for a new documentary on the Expos and said the city deserves a second chance at having a major league. The Expos became the Washington Nationals following the 2004 season.
“The baseball world doesn’t really understand what goes on in Montreal or in Canada sometimes,” Raines said. “The 12 years I spent in Montreal were probably the greatest 12 years of my career. It’s only fitting that they get an opportunity to do it all over again.”
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5