HOF 2017: Last chance for Raines, first for Ramirez, Pudge
Jan. 07, 2016
Tim Raines is down to his final chance.
After falling 23 votes shy of induction into baseball's Hall of Fame, Raines' candidacy will come down to next year's vote. That will be his 10th and final year of eligibility on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot. Newcomers to the ballot in 2017 include Manny Ramirez, Ivan Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero.
Raines stole 808 bases in his 24-year career, surpassing 70 in every season from 1981-86. He later won two World Series titles as a member of the New York Yankees and finished his career with a .294 lifetime batting average.
He received the support of 69.8 percent of the voters this year in results announced Wednesday. A player needs 75 percent to gain election. On Wednesday night, a series of messages appeared on Raines' Twitter account, expressing gratitude.
"A heartfelt thank you to all the fans on Twitter/in person who continue to show love & support," one of his tweets said. "My family and I are touched."
Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected to the Hall this year, and Raines was one of three other candidates who came pretty close. Jeff Bagwell missed by 15 votes, and Trevor Hoffman was 34 shy in his first year on the ballot.
Here are a few things to watch in next year's Hall of Fame vote:
Raines and Lee Smith are the two players down to their final appearance on the BBWAA ballot. In 2014, the Hall of Fame changed the maximum number of years on the ballot from 15 to 10, but Smith was grandfathered in and will be allowed his 15th chance in 2017.
Smith, who had 478 saves in his 18-year career, was at 34.1 percent in this year's vote.
Ramirez hit 555 home runs in his 19-year career, but he doesn't figure to be inducted any time soon, with the voting still taking place under the cloud of performance-enhancing drug suspicion. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, were below 50 percent in this year's voting.
Ramirez was suspended for 50 games in 2009 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers after testing positive for a banned drug. He retired in April 2011 instead of serving a 100-game ban for a second positive test while with Tampa Bay, but later agreed to a reduced 50-game suspension and played in the minors for Oakland in 2012.
Guerrero, who has managed to avoid the PED controversy, hit .318 with 449 home runs in his 16-year career, mostly with the Expos and Angels.
PUDGE AND POSADA
With Piazza set for induction, the focus turns to two other catchers who will debut on the ballot for 2017. Rodriguez hit .296 with 311 homers and won 13 Gold Gloves, but voters concerned about PED allegations may be hesitant to support him. Former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged he injected steroids into Rodriguez.
Posada played his entire 17-year career with the New York Yankees and was part of five World Series champions.
Curt Schilling was at 52 percent this year, and Mike Mussina checked in at 43 percent. Their progress will be worth monitoring, and Hoffman is already within striking distance of being inducted.
Jason Varitek and Magglio Ordonez may not come all that close to the Hall threshold, but their presence on the ballot for 2017 will bring back fond memories for fans in Boston and Detroit.
Edgar Renteria, whose 11th-inning hit won Game 7 of the 1997 World Series for the Florida Marlins, makes his debut on the ballot as well.
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister