What makes Tim Raines a Hall of Famer?

Tim Raines was a highly-focused hitter over a long period of time. Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery

On Wednesday evening, Tim Raines was elected to the Hall of Fame. What are the stats that show Raines to be a Hall-of-Fame caliber player?

With Raines, it starts with his speed. His 808 stolen bases rank fifth in major league history. The four players to rank above him –- Rickey Henderson, Lou Brock, 19th-century star Billy Hamilton and Ty Cobb -- are all in the Hall of Fame. Raines stole at least 70 bases in six straight seasons, the longest such streak in major league history.

Raines wasn’t just a prolific basestealer, he was an efficient one. His 84.7 percent stolen base percentage ranks second among players with 300 career stolen bases (Carlos Beltran ranks ahead of him at 86.4 percent).

But Raines is about much more than his baserunning. He had 2,605 career hits in a 23-season career spent mostly with the Montreal Expos, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. He had a .294 batting average and a .385 on-base percentage.

Raines reached base 3,977 times in his career, 45th in MLB history and more than Tony Gwynn, Brock and Mike Schmidt (among others).

Raines was both a good hitter and a clutch hitter. He hit .303 with runners in scoring position for his career, including 10 seasons of .300 or better. His slashline splits in what Baseball-Reference.com terms “high-leverage situations” (situations most impactful to winning or losing) were .312/.417/.433. Those were better, across the board, than his numbers in medium-leverage or low-leverage situations.

Put it all together and Raines’ 69.1 career wins above replacement rank fifth among those who primarily played left field in the modern era. The four ahead of him are Barry Bonds (162.4), Ted Williams (123.1), Rickey Henderson (110.8) and Carl Yastrzemski (96.1).

Hall of Fame moments

1981 season – Sets rookie record for stolen bases

Raines was best known for his blazing speed. He won the stolen base title in each of his first four seasons, swiping a then-rookie record 71 bases in 88 games during the strike-shortened 1981 season.

May 2, 1987 – Returning with a bang

But Raines didn’t just run. He could hit, too. Raines missed the first month of the 1987 season when no one would sign him as a free agent (owners were later found guilty of collusion).

His first game back with the Expos was the most memorable of his career. He went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and hit a game-winning grand slam in the 10th inning to beat the Mets. He hit .330 with a career-high 18 home runs that season.

1996, 1998 – Wins World Series with Yankees

After a 13-year career with the Expos, Raines moved on and had a successful stint with the White Sox, who traded him to the Yankees before the 1996 season.

In three years with the Yankees, Raines won two World Series rings. His two highlights: walking and scoring the winning run in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series, and hitting the first of three straight Yankees home runs against the Indians in Game 1 of the 1997 American League Division Series.

Oct. 4, 2001 – Father and son play in same game

Raines returned to the Expos briefly in 2001 and at the end of the season, they traded him to the Orioles. This allowed Raines to play in the same outfield as his son, Tim Raines Jr., for two games. In the second, Raines Sr. went 3-for-5 with a home run against the Red Sox. He played one one more season with the Marlins before retiring.