Tim Raines has announced his retirement at the end of this year, strike or no. Raines is batting .179 (still with a .360 OBP) for the Marlins this year. He is destined to be one of the great forgotten ballplayers, the Ron Santo of the past era. He is a living baseball anechronism, a throughback to the small-ball Eighties. Unfortunately, he never amassed the records that Rickey Henderson did to demand the respect that should be his (except for that silly nickname thing). But Raines was not as far behind Henderson as far as ability and deserves inclusion in the Hall when his time comes.
I have a feeling with all of the tremendous numbers being put up today, Raines smaller power numbers coupled with ungodly stolen base totals that may be without a reference point in today's game will leve him out in the Cooperstown cold. Even statheads will turn up their noses at his career .811 OPS (On-BasePlus Slugging) while only once breaking the .900 level in OPS in his career. What they will miss is that his career OPS is 24% better (as of 2001) than the league (adjusted for ballpark) during his career and that he once had an OPS 53% higher than the adjusted league average. His 84% stolen base percentage is outstanding for someone with 808 stolen bases in his career. The man deserves our respect if for no other reason than his long road back to major-league baseball after being diagnosed with Lupus. People will instead remember that he spend the last chunk of his career as a role player on various teams. This is unfair when one considers that he still played at a high level (his OPS was 20% better than the adjusted league average in 2001 at age 41).
Raines appears set to be the player unearthed by the next generations' Bill James. Let's see if Bill James Mach II can do more for Raines than the great Bill James did for the still un-enshrined Santo.