Explaining my Hall of Fame ballot

I've said this a thousand times. I'll say it again. Playing this PED guessing game is a fruitless, hopeless, impossible task, in an era where hundreds of players were taking whatever, for all sorts of reasons -- and the sport never stopped them, or has done anything since to keep them off this ballot. So you know what the chances are that we can keep all those dastardly "cheaters" out of the Hall of Fame? Zero, friends. Zero. So a guessing-game voting boycott of Piazza, or anyone else, is the ultimate empty gesture.

Tim Raines

I spent years describing Raines as "the most criminally unsupported Hall of Fame candidate alive." But the word must be getting out, because that isn't true anymore. Last year, while just about everyone else's vote totals were shrinking, Raines' votes actually went up (by 18). So he's finally ascended to 52.2 percent, after adding 175 votes in the past four elections. In other words, there's now hope for a man who was very possibly the greatest leadoff hitter of all time who wasn't named Rickey Henderson.

I never get tired of these two compelling little tidbits: (A) Raines reached base more times (3,977) than Tony Gwynn, Honus Wagner, Lou Brock, Roberto Clemente or Richie Ashburn. And (B) not one eligible player who reached base as many times as Raines did, and had as high an on-base percentage as he had (.385), is not in the Hall of Fame. So … sold yet?

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