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Raines reigns

I wrote a little bit about Tim Raines’ journey to the Hall. 

A little later on, I’ll have a piece up about the dreaded Rule of 10 and something from the Hall of Fame press conference.

Though the official announcement is to come, I’m guessing you can see my future here.

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40 Responses to Raines reigns

  1. Edwin says:

    Congratulations for your new gig at MLB Network, señor Posnanski. You are the best!

  2. SDG says:

    Good for Raines. Makes me wish the Expos were still in Montreal. Nothing against the Nationals or DC, but Montreal could support a major league team. Hope all the attention he’s getting up here moves the ball on that if the league decides to expand again.

    • invitro says:

      Montreal had a team for 36 years, and didn’t support it. What reason is there to think they’d support a team now? Why give Montreal a second chance when so many cities have yet to receive their first chance?

      • Tony S says:

        The Expos’ attendance patterns were actually pretty typical. When the team won, they drew extremely well, especially during their first run of consistent success from 1979 to 1983. When they didn’t win, they drew poorly. There’s nothing exceptional about that.

        The team suffered a lull in attendance during their down period after the Raines/Dawson/Carter era, but rebuilt and were getting their fans back in 1994 when the strike decapitated the season — and the organization’s recovery.

        When the organization stopped trying (cough Jeff Loria cough), the fan base lost interest. Can you blame them? Why SHOULD fans support a team that’s not interested in winning?

        A well-run franchise in Montreal would draw as much interest as any well-run team would in their home market.

        • invitro says:

          “When the team won, they drew extremely well” — This just isn’t true. They won 91 games in 1987, and came in 9th in the NL in attendance. In 1993, they won 94 games, and came in 13th. Were the Expos not interested in winning in 1993? In 1998, they won 88 and came in 11th. Loria is crap, but he didn’t come in until 1999, long after the Expos fans had stopped supporting.

          “A well-run franchise in Montreal would draw as much interest as any well-run team would in their home market.” — The Expos were well-run for many years, and had local interest in only that brief 1979-1983 period.

      • Mike says:

        I’m not sure how many fans would any team draw if it was owned by Jeff Loria.

      • SDG says:

        They were moved to a city that was receiving its third chance.

        Loria ran the team into the ground. At one point they didn’t even broadcast the games in English. They let Olympic stadium fall apart and there was some bureaucracy reason why they couldn’t repair it or fix it. It was a combination of bad timing and the same problems every small-market teams have, and shitty, shitty management.

        The exhibition games in Montreal are drawing great crowds. If they ever do expand to 32 teams I think Montreal is a good candidate for another franchise.

        • invitro says:

          “Loria ran the team into the ground. ” — Again, Loria didn’t run the team until 1999, long, long after the “fans” in Montreal quit on the team.

          “They let Olympic stadium fall apart and there was some bureaucracy reason why they couldn’t repair it or fix it.” — The reason is that the Montreal citizens hired a moron to be the architect. That choice was easily seen to be stupid as soon as he started saying “money is just a piece of paper”. This was before the stadium was built… Montreal’s citizens and their chosen government were so dumb that they just laughed it off and let the guy keep gettin’ paid.

          “the same problems every small-market teams” — I don’t know how the myth got started that Montreal is a small market. It has a city population of 1.6 million, and a metro population of 3.8 million. It’s not a small market, not a medium market, it’s a very large market. Of course, this makes the failure of its citizens to support the Expos stand out even more.

          “If they ever do expand to 32 teams I think Montreal is a good candidate for another franchise.” — It would be obnoxiously unfair for MLB to give another team to Montreal before letting Charlotte, San Antonio, New Orleans, Indianapolis, and dozens more cities have their first chance. Apparently the Montreal boosters don’t care a whit about fairness…

      • Brian says:

        You do realize they moved to Washington DC… which had previously lost 2 franchises for lack of support.

        Montreal with cavernous Olympic Stadium was once a thriving MLB city. Montreal with a new stadium and committed ownership would absolutely still be a thriving MLB city.

        • invitro says:

          I did not support the choice of Washington for the Expos. They should’ve gone somewhere else. But the Washington people have certainly done a far better job of being fans than the Montreal people did. And, most importantly, the choice of Washington means absolutely nothing to whether Montreal should get another team. It’s analogous to the argument that Player X should get in the Hall of Fame because he was better than Lloyd Waner, who is in the HoF.

        • Cuban X Senators says:

          Yeah, when we talk about DC’s 2 teams and “lack of support,” observe that the first franchise’s owner was openly concerned about the city’s white flight and the remaining black populous and the next franchise’s had already purchased the Minneapolis Lakers and realized the huge profits to be made by running professional sports teams to the Sun Belt . . .

    • Rob Smith says:

      If they could support a team, why didn’t they? They were averaging about 10,000 fans a game. And, of course, the stadium was falling apart. For Montreal to get another team would require a new stadium and a lot of fans that didn’t seem to exist recently. I also don’t see any imminent expansion plans.

      • Johnny P says:

        10,000 is being generous. In their last five years that they played exclusively in Montreal, they drew less than a million per year. Regardless of circumstances, that’s terrible.

    • Crazy Diamond says:

      Who cares about Canada??? They’re America’s annoying little brother…

  3. dlf9 says:

    Congrats on the new gig!

    Nit pick time: Joe wrote, “[Raines] cracked 160 home runs — only the great Joe Morgan among men his size hit more.”

    I’d say that Mel Ott takes the lead here. I take height and weight listings with a huge grain of salt, particularly those from generations apart, but for what it’s worth, bb-reference has Raines at 5’8″ and Ott at 5’9″. Ott, of course, hit 511 homers and was third all-time (behind Ruth and Foxx) when he retired.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Willie Mays was 5’10, 170 (generously). I hear he had a little pop too. Hack Wilson was 5′ 6″.

    • invitro says:

      Altuve may be taking that little-man HR record in a few years — he has only 60 HR now, but had 24 last year, and he’s only 5’6″. Jose should have all kinds of records by the time he’s through…

    • Brian says:

      Raines isn’t even the most powerful ‘short’ man in his HOF class! Pudge is listed at 5’9″.

    • James says:

      Jimmy Wynn (The Toy Cannon), who played most of his career in some awful parks for home runs, (Astros and the Dodgers), hit 291 home runs. He was listed at 5′ 10″.

  4. Texas Tim says:

    Congrats to Raines and Pudge.

    I saw both these guys in their primes. I grew up in the Toronto area but the Expo’s were far more popular on TV and with fans due to the Blue Jays being so bad in their early years. Then I moved to Dallas in 96 just as Pudge and the Rangers were taking flight. Both guys were joys to watch on TV and live.

    I have no idea if Pudge used or not but his career arc looks normal enough (his peak years when he was suspected of juicing also his age 27-28 seasons) when you realize he came up so young and gradually improved every year till his peak then declined normally.

    Raines obviously used drugs but not performance enhancing ones. Thankfully he kicked the habit and went on to greatness. I wonder if some of the reason he was under appreciated was because he came to the team right after Leflore stole 100 bases and so that was the bar the fans expected him to reach and top every season. He never did and then a couple years later Vince Coleman was stealing 100 several times and once again Raines got overlooked.

    • invitro says:

      “the Expo’s were far more popular on TV and with fans due to the Blue Jays being so bad in their early years.” — It looks like the Expos had higher attendance than Toronto for five years, 1979-1983. I think Toronto kicked Montreal’s ass in attendance the other 28 years they both existed. I do not believe that the Expos were far more popular on TV than the Blue Jays. Maybe for a year or two. I can’t tell if you’re trying to say that the Expos were more popular from 1984 through 1996, but if you were, uh, no, the opposite is true.

      • Texas Tim says:

        Toronto is a larger city and is notorious for supporting bad teams.

        That said the Expos were more popular from 77-84 (Jays break through year). Even after the Jays attendance passed Montreals the overall fan base in Canada was bigger Expo supporters than Jays supporters simply because the franchise had been around a lot longer and had been broadcasting into those markets. Most people 35 and up in Canada remember growing up Expo fans and not Jays fans. It’s the younger generation who are all Jays fans because by then the Expos were almost irrelevant.

        • invitro says:

          “That said the Expos were more popular from 77-84 (Jays break through year).” — Toronto had higher attendance than Montreal in 1977, 1978, and 1984. Their breakthrough year was 1983, when they went 89-73 for their first season over .500.

          “Most people 35 and up in Canada remember growing up Expo fans and not Jays fans. It’s the younger generation who are all Jays fans because by then the Expos were almost irrelevant.” — I’m not sure what particular years you’re talking about here. Someone who’s 35 now was 8 in 1990, so let’s start there. Are you saying the Expos were almost irrelevant in 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1996? They either won at least 87 games or were first (in 1994) all of those years.

          • TexasTim says:

            Sadly, yes they were almost irrelevant in the early 90’s.

            One thing to understand. The Expo’s owned Canada as a whole until the Jays came along in 77. Even after the Jays arrived the Expos still broadcasted into more markets in Canada than the Jays because they were doing so well. So there were a lot of Montreal fans in Canada even if not all lived in Montreal area (this is why in Hockey the Leafs are still as popular in western Canada NHL cities as the local NHL teams because they broadcasted there for decades and can still gotten on local TV).

            By the early 90’s the Jays had replaced the Expos on a national broadcast level in Canada due to their being better (winning 2 series helps along with multiple playoffs in the late 80s) and of course because they were allowed to broadcast in English (and French too if they wanted) so even though the Expos were still fielding good teams they weren’t thought of in the same way as the Jays were.

  5. MikeN says:

    Were the Expos even the most popular team among French speakers?

  6. MikeN says:

    Crowded ballot hurt. Posada doesn’t even get a second look. Ordonez just 3 votes.

    • SDG says:

      Posada wouldn’t have gotten the votes he did if he played for the Braves. He’s a very good player whose career looks better than it was for several reasons:
      1) Core Four Yankee dynasty won a bunch of rings etc.
      2) He was a good hitter who was moved to C and brought nothing to the table defensively from what I can tell. You can’t (a) give him a break for low hitting on account of that catchers have lower offensive numbers and then (b) ignore that he wasn’t good defensively.
      3) His main selling point was a good batting eye (fine) and durability which, again, looks better than it is because you’re comparing him to other catchers, not other position players. This is particularly egregious as his durability is still great, but not as impressive as it looks when you compare him to catchers historically, as people seem to do. It’s the position that benefitted the most from rule changes and equipment and modern training, in terms of durability.

      I also don’t see why it’s a particular honour to get elected on the first ballot as opposed to the 15th or by the VC. Or to get votes even if you don’t get in. No one thinks Lee Smith is better than Posada because Smith lasted for 15 ballots.

  7. Dan says:

    Can’t wait for the Rule of 10 piece. 10 is way too many votes. Hell, only two or three guys get elected every year. Some years, none. With such a dearth of qualified candidates, why would anyone need to vote for 10? Or MORE? Some people have the temerity to suggest there shouldn’t be any limit. Perish the thought! 10 votes is already such an unnecessary luxury…

    • steve says:

      Hi, Dan. And greetings to another Small Hall person. Fair or not, a few voters who choose none of the above, or maybe 1 of the above, keep the E in Exclusive.
      Still, I love Joe, even though he is a Big Hall guy and believes an MVP doesn’t have to play for a winning team. There is lots of room for disagreement. Baseball, unlike politics, isn’t life or death for anyone, so most posts here remain civil.

    • Patrick says:

      Because there aren’t a dearth of qualified candidates. No one was elected in 2013, but four players from that ballot have been elected since, and others are likely to follow.

    • MikeN says:

      Because people do not agree on which ones to vote for. We have maybe five people who are locks except for steroids. So these guys are taking up space on the ballot. If you shorten the number of spots, then no one will be voted in. Now there are maybe 2-3 locks every year.5 steroid guys taking up space on half of ballots, and then 10 more candidates that range from solid to borderline. The 2-3 locks may or may not get in first ballot, taking up more space on later ballots. So you will end up even with 10 votes, lots of people getting 30-60%, and few getting 75%, despite having the support of more than 75% of voters.

  8. invitro says:

    The Expos were never my favorite team, or even second favorite, but I liked them a lot, and in the 1990’s seemed to always have a pile of them on my fantasy teams (which generally finished first) — Jose Vidro, Shane Andrews, Rondell White, those guys. My general take on the Expos, based on memories of them, and Jonah Keri’s book (which is great in the first half, but crap in the second half):

    – They had a good owner in Bronfman.
    – They had probably the best player-development staff in baseball, for a long time, from sometime in the mid-1970’s through maybe the late 1980’s.
    – Their players were not just good, they were exciting, appealing as people, and diverse.
    – They played in a large market (Wikipedia says Montreal was the fifth-largest market in baseball).

    Despite all this good stuff, the Montreal people were poor fans. They had very low to abysmal attendance unless they were in first or close to it, and often even when they were. That’s the first main reason why the Expos failed. The second main reason is the wackjob state of Montreal politics, which directly led to Olympic Stadium, and its well-noted problems, and crazy stuff like forcing the Expos to broadcast in French only, IIRC. The Expos management did a great job in general with the huge exception of Olympic Stadium, which I don’t know if they were responsible for, and only ran low on money because the fans quit on the team. Well, that’s my impression anyway…

    P.S. This article is filled with numerous funny/pitiful bits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_Stadium_(Montreal)

    • Texas Tim says:

      A pretty good synopsis.

      The ‘Big Owe’ was a disaster of a stadium from the day it was built for the Olympics. It was a terrible place for baseball too because it was so large that you were far away from the action and of course it had really hard turf (I’m not a fan of turf at all) that shortened careers of guys like Dawson. The stadium alone probably turned off a lot of fans because it wasn’t a fun place to go to. They really needed a small 40K seat park with grass (Fenway/Wrigley type place).

      I have no idea how Wikipedia says Montreal was the 5th largest market. There is just no way that’s true unless they meant the fact they pretty much had all of Canada for a long time until the Jays made inroads in the mid 80s. As a city Montreal is not even as big as Toronto and it would definitely have been behind NY, LA, Chicago, Philly, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and so on. Many US cities list small populations because the technical city boundary is small but the greater metro area tends to be very large.

      • invitro says:

        “it would definitely have been behind NY, LA, Chicago, Philly, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and so on. Many US cities list small populations because the technical city boundary is small but the greater metro area tends to be very large.” — You have a point there. Montreal’s metro population is smaller than all those you listed, and also Washington, Miami, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Detroit. This would put Montreal in the bottom half of MLB teams, mid-to-small market. Source — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_American_metropolitan_areas_by_population

    • Rob Smith says:

      I was remembering Olympic stadium and how it was supposed to have a retractable roof… one that had a bizarre design. Well, the Stadium was supposed to be done in the early 70s, but it wasn’t even done for the Olympics in 1976, and of course, the roof also wasn’t done. This led to the fiasco of Dwight Stones high jumping in the rain & not winning, as he was expected to do. He then called the French Canadians rude for not finishing the stadium. The roof, I don’t believe, was done for another 10 years. I’m not sure it ever really worked very well. It was a really bad stadium. Despite that, the Expos had a really tough team in the 80s. And I remember Rick Monday unloading a winning HR at the aforementioned stadium as the Dodgers beat them in a close series and, I think, went to the World Series. The Expos came close, but never made the Series.

      • invitro says:

        I’d like to know more about the 1982 Expos. They started with the three Hall of Famers (Carter/Dawson/Raines), all in their primes. Add Al Oliver, age 35 but having one of his best seasons. Add Tim Wallach and Warren Cromartie. That should be a heck of an offense. On pitching, start with ace Steve Rogers, having one of his best seasons, and add Gullickson, Lea, and Sanderson. Looks like a good pitching staff. Add closer Reardon, in his prime. They went 86-76. How does this team not win at least 90? Well, their Pyth record is 90-72. And they had a lot of guys racking up large negative WAR’s. Doug Flynn, Joel Youngblood, and Francona each had -0.7 WAR. Ray Burris threw up a -1.4 WAR. I don’t know if this is a particularly top-heavy team, but they had 11 guys with 2.5 WAR, and Carter/Dawson/Rogers were all in MVP range with 7.7 to 8.6 WAR. Last year’s Cubbies had 9 guys with 2.5 WAR, and only Bryant was in the 7.7-8.6 range. (Doug Flynn was purchased from the Rangers for $40k on August 2, 1982. He’d already put up a -1.8 WAR for Texas, and so ended with a -2.5 WAR for 1982. Nice!) (Sorry for going on so much. I find the Expos’ history to be fascinating. I want someone to write another team history… Keri’s is a great start, but I want one that gets more analytical and goes more in-depth…)

        • TexasTim says:

          The early 80’s Expos are one of the great mysteries of all time. I was 17 in 1982 and I remember that team very well. To this day I don’t know how they didn’t win anything between 80-84. That’s 4 years of Raines/Dawson/Carter in their primes and 5 years of Carter/Dawson. Has any other team ever had 3 hall of fame players in their primes for 4 straight years and done nothing? Ironically the best team record wise was the 80 team the year before Raines arrived.

          After every seasons failure there would be self analysis followed by the team announcing it had a ‘fix’. One year it was lack of closer (after Schmidt’s HR in 80 on the 2nd last day of the season) so in came Reardon. Then it was not enough hitting so in came Oliver. Then it was lack of good manager so in came Williams. Eventually it was somehow Gary Carters fault so he was given away to the Mets and by then the team was aging and being a smaller market they couldn’t afford to keep their stars.

  9. Nickolai says:

    Congrats Joe, both on the new gig at MLB.com and for helping to get Raines into Cooperstown where he belongs!

  10. This is a big win for the MLB Network! Good for them, and good for you.

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