Tim Raines Sr is regarded as one of the greatest leadoff hitters and baserunners in baseball history. He was voted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013 but it did not come that easily here in U.S. He received 86% of the vote in his tenth and final year of eligibility in 2017.
In 1981, his rookie season, Raines put up some impressive numbers batting .304 and had the most stolen bases for a rookie with 71. The hook? 1981 was a strike shortened year. The strike lasted about 60 days which means no regular season games were played. One can only imagine what his final numbers would’ve been under a full season.
An impressive rookie season no doubt about it but he still fell short of the 1981 Rookie of the Year honors. Raines was runner-up to Los Angeles Dodgers pitching phenom Fernando Venezuela. The most impressive stat is his base stealing, between 1981-1987 he had at least 70 stolen bases each year. Career totals for stolen bases puts him No. 4 all-time, behind Rickey Henderson, Lou Brock and Ty Cobb. Also note worthy, while playing for the Chicago White Sox he set an AL record, 40 consecutive times he successfully stole a base.
His batting statistics aren’t to shabby either. He was a switch hitter with a career .385 on base percentage and a .425 slugging percentage, this made him one of the best lead off hitters in the game. 1986 was his best year winning NL Batting Champion and Silver Slugger Awards he batted .334 with an on base percentage of .413 that year.
His career stat line reads: Batting Avg .294 | Stolen Bases 808 | Hits 2,605 | 7x All-Star
Did You Know
- He is 1 of only 29 major league ball players to play the game in four decades, 1979-2002.
- Has two World Series Championships, 1996 and 1998 while with the Yankees. A third ring as first base coach with the 2005 Chicago White Sox.
- Played football in High School and was really good, in fact he had an opportunity to take the NFL route but choose MLB instead.
ROOKIE CARDS OF HALL OF FAMER TIM RAINES SR:
1981 Topps, No. 479 (shop eBay)
For the first time in 26 years Topps had some competition in 1981 as Donruss & Fleer make their premier in the hobby. In 1980 Topps opted to remove their logo from the front of their cards but because of fierce competition they quickly put their name back on the front with this 81 set. However, they just added the name and not the traditional logo, kind of a downer for me. I’m also not a fan of multi-player rookies on one card but I can quickly make an exception when it entails the rookie card of Hall of Famer!
1981 Topps Traded, No. 816 (shop eBay)
This 132 card set is an extension to the Topps set. In a scurry to get an edge on the competition Topps released their base set early, this set the stage for it’s first Traded set. It can be said that it is an extension of the base set because there identical in design and are numbered 727-858, a literal continuance of the base set. Also, this is not considered a RC because Tim had appeared in the 1981 Topps (card pictured above) set earlier in the year. However, collectors were not discouraged by hobby politics and embraced this card of Tim because it featured him by himself.
1981 Donruss, No. 538 (shop eBay)
This 605 card premier set was introduced to collectors but it was not a smooth transition. A multitude of complaints including: thin paper stock, print tones imbalanced causing odd skin tones on players – all of which were corrected in later print runs. Key rookie card in the set? Your looking at it.