The Rock is in the Hall.
Tim Raines got 86.0% of the vote in his final year of eligibility to make the Baseball Hall of Fame. Raines finished his career with 808 stolen bases and an impressive 84.7% stealing efficiency. His career on-base percentage was a stellar .385.
He was a 7-time All-Star from 1981-1987. Raines led the National League in stolen bases from 1981-1984. He won a batting title in 1986 with a .334 average. Raines hit .301 in a Montréal uniform, though .294 overall in his career.
Raines played with the Montréal Expos from the beginning of his career in 1979-1990 and 47 games in 2001.
Raines got a significant boost in the vote from last year's 307 votes and 69.8%. A player needs 75% to get into the Hall of Fame.
The Montréal Expos will now have 3 Hall of Fame players; Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, and Raines.
"Being a part of Montréal for 13 years and seeing the support that Montréal fans and the country of Montréal have given me, it's nothing but unbelievable. Just to know that now I'm in the Hall of Fame, there are going to be a lot of proud people in Canada," said Raines on the MLB Network shortly after the vote was announced. He actually said "country of Montréal" but given the city's confluence in the rivers of French and English in Canada, the island city might feel like a country all its own.
Vladimir Guerrero was on his first year on the ballot and finished 15 votes off from getting into the Hall. Guerrero got 71.7% in the vote. Larry Walker got 21.9% of the vote. The consensus is that Guerrero should be in the Hall of Fame in 2018. He should be the 4th player to enter the Hall in an Expos cap.
Raines was often in the shadow of Rickey Henderson, who was the greatest lead-off hitter of his generation. His stats were seen as more relevant by younger voters. Even if the Montréal Expos were slightly more relevant in the 1980s, the exploits of Tim Raines were rather hidden away.
Baseball writer and Expos fan Jonah Keri led the way to champion Raines for the Hall of Fame. A great number of baseball people lent their voices too. The most surprising voice was Chris Bittle, who represents the riding of St. Catharines in southern Ontario from the Liberal Party in Parliament.
"I rise today to speak of an upcoming ballot. This is not a member of the Minister of Democratic Institutions. I am, Mr. Speaker, speaking about the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. Though it may seem unusual to speak about baseball on this frigid week in Ottawa, a player is on the ballot in his final year of eligibility and worthy of our support: Tim Raines."
Raines maintains a current Canadian baseball connection as a roving instructor for the Toronto Blue Jays' minor league teams. He was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.
The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be July 30 in Cooperstown, NY. Given the approximately 4½ hours driving distance from Montréal, expect a lot of bleu, blanc, et rouge in the crowd.
photo credit: Getty Images