2014 Hall of Fame profile: Tim Raines

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Tim Raines and Tony Gwynn have seemingly been connected over their careers for their similar style of play. Yet Gwynn was a first-ballot Hall of Famer while Raines still awaits his turn.

Tim Raines has been compared to a sure-fire Hall of Famer. He has been one of the best base stealers ever. He has shown an incredible eye at the plate. He has been said by many to be among the best players to not be in the Hall of Fame at this point. Yet there it is, he has yet to be elected.

Over the last six years, Raines has seen his voting dip as low as 22.6 percent and rise as high as 52.2 percent, which is where he stood in 2013. Could this be the year that Raines finally sees his vote tally jump enough to earn him the highest honor a player can receive?

Why he's a Hall of Famer:

Raines has oft-been compared to Tony Gwynn, Sr. when discussing his Hall of Fame candidacy, and for good reason. The two men played in the same time period and both had a similar game as they favored speed and getting on base over power.

Gwynn consistently put up a higher batting average than Raines, leading the league eight times and finishing with a career .338 average. Raines led the league in average once, and finished his career having hit .294. However, due to Raines' strong ability to control the plate, the two players ended up with on base percentages within three points of one another for their careers: Raines at .385 and Gwynn at .388.

Gwynn was slightly more of a power threat. Neither player was a big home run hitter, but Gwynn found the gaps for extra bases more often and finished with a slugging percentage 22 points higher. Raines, however, was a much greater threat on the bases and was one of the premiere base stealers the game has ever seen. He led the league four straight times in swipes from 1981-84 and finished his career with 808 steals, fifth all time.

Gwynn received nearly 98 percent of the vote on his first ballot and was immediately elected to the Hall of Fame. Raines is now on his seventh ballot and has cracked 50 percent of the vote just once.

Why writers won't vote for him

He didn't reach 3,000 hits. That has been a pretty key statistic to voters in the past, and is part of the reasons Gwynn. is in the Hall of Fame and Raines is not. He may also be hurt by writers who look at his 810 career OPS and .294 career batting average and decide those numbers are decidedly not great without considering the type of player Raines was.

Raines also didn't earn a whole lot of credentials over his career. He was elected to the All Star game seven consecutive years, but not once after he turned 28 years old. He also finished in the top-five of MVP voting just once. Raines got on base well and was one of the best ever on the basepaths, but is that enough for him to be voted into the hall?

Even if Raines is not elected this year, it seems likely that he will once again see the percentage of writers voting for him go up. If not this year, he has a good chance of being elected in the future.

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