In his tenth and final year of eligibility, Tim Raines was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in January, as his name appeared on 86 percent of ballots.
“I never lost faith in the process,” Raines said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “But of course, you never know until that call is made. I kind of was on the fence in between. I wanted to be positive, but I didn’t want to be overly positive. But it all worked out.”
Raines received just 25 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility but slowly worked his way past the requisite 75 percent.
“I would say social media (was the key),” Raines said. “I think the more my stats got out there, (it helped). I think a lot of times when reporters are looking at who they want to vote for, I think they have their favorites and they don’t want to do their due diligence as far as looking at the stats. I think earlier there (was) a lot of old-school guys that said, ‘This guy doesn’t have 3,000 hits, so he doesn’t deserve to be there.’ But I think the game has evolved and there’s a lot of other things outside of just getting base hits that can have an effect on teams winning and losing.”
Raines, 57, played in the bigs from 1979-2002. He was a seven-time All-Star and won a pair of World Series rings with the New York Yankees.
He also never used PEDs, which may have helped his Hall of Fame candidacy.
“I think it played a role,” Raines said. “I played 23 years steroid-free and I competed quite well against (guys that used). . . . I’ve always felt like it’s man-against-man. If you’re good enough to come out there and do what I do, then bring it on. But to those guys that feel like they need help to try to compete at my level, I feel like I’ve won.”
While Raines didn’t use PEDs, though, he did use cocaine.
“I was a 19-year-old kid from a small town going to Montreal, which is considered one of the party towns in the major leagues, and I just kind of got caught up,” Raines said of getting called up in 1979. “I got caught up in the situation at a young age, and once I realized that wasn’t me, I made sure I took care of it.”
Indeed, Raines took full responsibility for his drug use and eradicated it from his life.
“I had a kid, I had a family, I was concerned about my parents being caught up into the same thing,” he said. “People don’t realize when you’re in a situation, you’re not in it by yourself; you’re in it with your parents, you’re in it with your siblings, relatives – they all have to answer the questions that you should be answering. I took all of that in mind and I realized that I had a problem. I think that’s the one thing people don’t do. They think they can one day wake up and say, ‘I’m done,’ and it’s over. But you have to admit it, you have to maybe go out and seek some help and really, really make sure that that help that you get is positive help – and I went out and I got that.”