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Timothy Raines (born September 16, 1959 in Sanford, Florida), nicknamed "Rock",[1] is a former left fielder in Major League Baseball who played for six teams from 1979 to 2002 and was best known for his 13 seasons with the Montreal Expos. Regarded as one of the top leadoff hitters[2][3][4] and baserunners in the sport's history, Raines stole at least 70 bases in each of his first six full seasons (1981–1986), leading the National League in stolen bases each season from 1981 to 1984, with a career high of 90 steals in 1983. Raines also led the NL in runs scored twice (1983 and 1987). Raines batted over .300 in five full seasons and over .320 from 1985 to 1987, winning the 1986 NL batting title with a .334 average. He also had six full seasons with an on base percentage above .390.

With 808 steals in his career, Raines has the fourth-highest total in major league history, behind Rickey Henderson, Lou Brock and Ty Cobb.[5] Until 2008,[6] his career stolen base percentage (84.7%) was the highest in MLB history for players with 300 or more attempts[7] and he was successful on 40 consecutive steal attempts between July 1993 and August 1995, setting an American League record at the time (the record was broken by Ichiro Suzuki in May 2007, when he completed 45 consecutive steals).

Among switch hitters, Raines ranks sixth in career hits (2,605), fourth in runs (1,571), walks (1,330) and times on base (3,977), fifth in plate appearances (10,359), seventh in singles (1,892), doubles (430), total bases (3,771) and at bats (8,872), eighth in triples (113) and tenth in extra base hits (713). He holds Expos/Washington Nationals franchise records for career runs (947), steals (635), singles (1,163), triples (82) and walks (793), and was the seventh player whose career began after 1945 to retire with over 1,500 runs and 100 triples.[8] His 1,966 games in left field ranked seventh in major league history when he retired.

Raines served as the hitting coach for the minor-league Harrisburg Senators in 2007,[9] but he did not return for the 2008 season.[10] Raines is currently the manager of the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League.[11]


Montreal Expos[]

The Montreal Expos selected Raines in the 5th round of the 1977 amateur draft. After debuting with six games as a pinch runner in 1979, he played briefly as a second baseman for the Expos in 1980, but soon switched to playing the outfield, and rapidly became a fan favorite due to his aggressiveness on the basepaths. In his strike-interrupted 1981 rookie season, he batted .304 and stole 71 bases – then the second most ever by a rookie, behind only Benny Kauff's 75 for the 1914 Indianapolis Hoosiers in the Federal League. Raines was caught stealing for the first time in 1981, after having begun his career with a major league record 27 consecutive successful stolen bases. Raines was the runner-up for the NL's Rookie of the Year Award in 1981, which was won by Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela.

Raines performance dipped in 1982,[12] as he hit .277 with a .353 on base percentage.[13] At the end of the season, Raines entered treatment for substance abuse, having spent an estimated $40,000 that year on cocaine.[12] To avoid leaving the drug in his locker, Raines carried it in his hip pocket, and slid headfirst when running the bases.[14] He used cocaine before games, in his car, after games, and on some occasions, between innings in the clubhouse.[15] Raines would later testify at the infamous Pittsburgh drug trials, in September, 1985.

In 1983, Raines resumed his exciting play, stealing a career high of 90 bases. In each season from 1981 to 1986, Raines stole at least 70 bases. He had a career-high .334 batting average in 1986, winning the National League batting title. Raines maintained a consistently high on base percentage during this period and a rising slugging percentage, reaching a career peak of .429 in 1987. Although he never won a Gold Glove Award, Raines was an excellent defensive player who led the NL with 21 assists in 1983 and, with 4 double plays, tied for the league lead in double plays by an outfielder in 1985.

Raines became a free agent on November 12, 1986,[13] but in spite of his league-leading play, no team made a serious attempt to sign him.[16] (During this period, the Major League Baseball owners were acting together to keep salaries down — see "Baseball collusion".) On May 1, 1987, hours after being permitted to negotiate again with Montreal, Raines signed a new deal with the Expos for $5,000,000 over three years, and a $900,000 signing bonus.[16] In his first game back on May 2, facing the Mets, although Raines had not participated in spring training or any other competitive preparation for the season, he hit the first pitch he saw off the right-field wall for a triple. Raines finished the game with four hits in five at-bats, three runs, one walk, a stolen base, and a game-winning grand slam in the 10th inning.[17][18] In spite of the shortened season, Raines led the Expos in runs, walks, times on base, runs created, and stolen bases, in addition to batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage.[19] He also garnered MVP honors in the All-Star Game as he delivered a game-winning triple in the 13th inning. Raines would, in 1992, be one of dozens of players retroactively awarded collusion damages, receiving over $865,000.[20]

Raines was traded to the Chicago White Sox on December 20, 1990, along with Jeff Carter and a player to be named later (Mario Brito would eventually be agreed upon), in exchange for Iván Calderón and Barry Jones.[13]

Post-Expos career[]

Raines played for five seasons with the White Sox. On December 28, 1995, he was traded to the New York Yankees. With the Yankees, Raines received two World Series rings in 1996 and 1998. While his playing time was curtailed due to injuries[17], he contributed to a loose clubhouse atmosphere,[21][22] and was productive when he came up to the plate.[13]

In January 1999, Raines signed as a free agent with the Oakland Athletics. After a kidney biopsy on July 23, Raines was diagnosed with lupus and spent the rest of the year undergoing treatment and recovery.[23][22]

Recovery and return[]

Raines was signed by the Yankees as a free agent on February 1, 2000,[24] but was released on March 23.[13] On December 21, Raines was signed by the Expos, returning to the team that drafted him.[13] With limited playing time, Raines batted .308, with a .433 on base percentage and a .436 slugging percentage.

Raines underwent surgery on May 31 due to a left shoulder strain, and spent time rehabilitating with the Expos Triple-A club, the Ottawa Lynx. On August 21, 2001, Raines and his son, Tim Raines, Jr., became the first father-son pair to play against each other in an official professional baseball game, when the Lynx played the Rochester Red Wings (the two had faced each other earlier in the year during spring training).[25] Raines returned to the major league club on August 22.

On October 3, the Expos traded Raines to the Baltimore Orioles, thereby permitting Raines to play a major league game with his son.[26][27] On October 4, Raines, Jr. played center field and Raines, Sr. played left field for Baltimore, becoming the second father and son team to play for the same major league team (a feat previously accomplished by Ken Griffey, Sr. and Ken Griffey, Jr.).[28]

Raines played his last season in 2002 with the Florida Marlins.

Coaching career[]

Raines began his coaching career in 2003 as manager of the high class A Brevard County Manatees affiliate of the Expos. He was promoted to the major league team in 2004 and was present for the Expos' final games as a Montreal franchise.

He was a coach for the White Sox from November 2004 until October 2006.[29] During the 2005 World Series Championship season, Raines served as first base coach. During the 2006 season, he served as bench coach. He was the hitting coach for the minor-league Harrisburg Senators in 2007,[9] but was not retained by the team in 2008.[10] Raines signed a two-year contract to manage the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League, starting in 2009.[11]


In his 23-year career, Raines hit .294 with 170 home runs, 980 RBI, 1,571 runs, 2,605 hits, 808 stolen bases, 430 doubles, 113 triples and an on base percentage of .385. He hit over .300 in five full seasons, and over .320 in three straight years (1985–1987).

From 1983 to 1987, Total Baseball rated him as one of the NL's five best players each season.[citation needed] He is also listed as the 40th greatest non-pitcher in major-league history according to Bill James's win shares formula, one place ahead of Mark McGwire.[citation needed]

League leading statistics[]

Reference: Leader and Record Board Index[30]

  • Led the National League in batting average in 1986 (.334), the third switch hitter to win the NL batting title
  • Led the National League in on base percentage in 1986 (.413)
  • Led the major leagues in stolen bases in 1981 (71) and 1984 (75)
  • Led the National League in stolen bases in 1982 (78) and 1983 (90)
  • Led the major leagues in runs scored in 1983 (133) and 1987 (123)
  • Led the National League for times on base in 1983 (282), 1984 (281), and 1986 (274)
  • Led the National League in outfield assists in 1983 (21)
  • Tied for the National League lead in double plays by an outfielder in 1985 (4)

Expos/Nationals records[]

Reference: Washington Nationals Batting Leaders from[31]

  • Single-season record for plate appearances (731 in 1982)
  • Single-season record for runs (133 in 1983)
  • Career record for runs (947)
  • Single-season record for triples (13 in 1985); shared with Rodney Scott and Mitch Webster
  • Career record for singles (1,163)
  • Career record for triples (82)
  • Career record for walks (793)
  • Career record for times on base (2,440)
  • Career record for stolen bases (635)
  • Career record for runs created (1,047)

Personal life[]

In 1979, Raines married Virginia Hilton, who had attended the same high school that he did. The couple gave birth to two children: Tim, Jr. ("Little Rock"), and André ("Little Hawk").[32] In high school he was a running back and admits to having enjoyed football more than baseball at the time. On the matter between the two he reflects, "in football I was a running back, so in the NFL my career would have probably lasted 6 or 7 years and in baseball I ended up playing 23 years. In baseball you can play a long time so I think it’s better when you think of it in that way."[33]

In 1995, Raines became a resident of Heathrow, Florida. In 2007, he moved to Estrella Mountain Ranch, just outside of Phoenix, Arizona, and married Shannon Watson from Arnprior, Ontario.[34]

Honors and awards[]

Raines was a National League All-Star in 7 consecutive seasons (1981–1987), and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1987 All-Star Game.[35]

Raines finished in the top 10 in voting for the NL MVP Award three times (1983, 1986, 1987). He won a Silver Slugger Award as an outfielder in 1986 when he led the NL in both batting average and on base percentage.

Baseball Hall of Fame candidacy[]

Raines was eligible for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January 2008, and various sabermetricians and commentators have supported his induction.[36][37][38][39][40] Raines received only 24% of the vote in his first try, far short of the required 75%.

See also[]


  1. Raines received this nickname at an Expo rookie camp when he was seventeen, based on his physique.Abel, Allen (1981-05-28), Template:Citation/make link, The Globe and Mail: 55 
  2. In 2001, Bill James ranked Raines as the second greatest leadoff player in MLB history. James, Bill (2001). New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, The. New York: Simon & Shuster, 684–685.
  3. McLaughlin, Dan (2007-12-27). The path to Cooperstown: Tim Raines and the Tablesetters (HTML). Retrieved on 2008-04-30.
  4. Stark, Jayson; Peter Gammons (2007-12-29). Debate: Is Tim Raines a Hall of Famer? (HTML). Retrieved on 2008-04-30.
  5. Some sources also place Raines behind Billy Hamilton, who recorded over 900 steals from 1888 to 1901; however, nearly 800 of these were achieved prior to 1898, when the definition of a steal was altered, and these early steals are not officially recognized.
  6. Carlos Beltran passed 300 steal attempts in 2008 and as of September, 20, 2008, has a higher stolen base percentage.
  7. Caught stealing data is incomplete prior to the 1951 season.
  8. The previous six were Willie Mays, Lou Brock, Pete Rose, George Brett, Robin Yount and Paul Molitor.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Washington Nationals (2006-12-12). Nationals announce 2007 minor league managers and coaching assignments. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-05-13.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Harrisburg Senators Baseball Club (2007-12-17). SENATORS NAME 2008 COACHING STAFF. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-05-13.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Associated Press (2008-11-21). Raines, a 7-time All-Star, joins Newark Bears as manager (HTML). Retrieved on 2008-11-21.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Fimrite, Ron (1984-06-25). Don't Knock the Rock. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved on 2008-05-04.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 - Major league career statistics
  14. Vecsey, George. "SPORTS OF THE TIMES; To Test or not to Test?", The New York Times, 1985-08-21. Retrieved on 2008-05-04.
  15. Farber, Michael (2004), Template:Citation/make link, in Brunt, Stephen, Template:Citation/make link, Alfred A. Knopf  Originally published in The Gazette on 1982-12-11.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Anderson, Dave. "SPORTS OF THE TIMES; Nobody Wanted Raines", The New York Times, 1987-05-05. Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Keri, Jonah (2007-12-29). Raines: 'I played the game with excitement, focus'. Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  18. Retrosheet Boxscore: Montreal Expos 11, New York Mets 7. Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  19. 1987 Montreal Expos Statistics and Roster (HTML). Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  20. BASEBALL; Big Collusion Winners: Clark, Parrish, Dawson - New York Times
  21. Olney, Buster. "WORLD SERIES PREVIEW: YANKEES VS. PADRES -- IN THE CLUBHOUSE; Before the Yankees Take the Field...", The New York Times, 1998-10-16. Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  22. 22.0 22.1 El-Bashir, Tarik. "Raines Returns, as Do the Laughs", The New York Times, 1999-08-31. Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  23. McKeon, Ross. "Raines diagnosis: Lupus",, 1999-08-07. Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  24. Olney, Buster. "Raines Gets a Shot At Resuming Career", The New York Times, 2000-02-02. Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  25. CBC Sports (2001-08-22). Father-son combos common in baseball (HTML). Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  26. CBC Sports (2001-10-03). Orioles add elder Raines (HTML). Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  27. Associated Press (2001-10-03). Tim Raines Sr. joins son on Orioles (HTML). Retrieved on 2009-03-06.
  28. Charlton's Baseball Chronology - 2001 (HTML). Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  29. (2006-10-14). White Sox fire bench coach Raines. Retrieved on 2006-10-28.
  30. Leader and Record Board Index (HTML). Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  31. Washington Nationals Batting Leaders (HTML). Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  32. Fimrite, Ron (1984-06-25). Don't Knock the Rock (HTML). CNN/Sports Illustrated. Retrieved on 2008-05-13.
  33. Benjamin, Samori (2008-07-21). Rock Solid. WBAI Sports. Retrieved on 2008-10-01. “As I got older I realized baseball could prolong your career, in football I was a running back, so in the NFL my career would have probably lasted 6 or 7 years and in baseball I ended up playing 23 years. In baseball you can play a long time so I think it’s better when you think of it in that way.”
  34. Elliott, Bob (2007-08-11). Elliott on Baseball (HTML). Canoe Inc. Retrieved on 2008-05-13.
  35. Baseball-Reference All-Star Game Index (HTML). Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2008-01-19.
  36. Stark, Jayson; Peter Gammons (2007-12-29). Debate: Is Tim Raines a Hall of Famer? (HTML). Retrieved on 2008-09-19.
  37. Pearlman (2007-06-13). "Rock" belongs in Cooperstown (HTML). Retrieved on 2008-09-19.
  38. Sheehan, Joe (2000-03-24). The Daily Prospectus: A Hall of Famer Retires (HTML). Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved on 2008-09-19.
  39. Jazayerli, Rany (2000-03-31). The Case for Tim Raines: An In-Depth Look (HTML). Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved on 2008-09-19.
  40. Darowski, Mike (2006-02-17). Hall of Fame Case: Tim Raines (HTML). The Rule V Baseball Blog. Retrieved on 2008-09-19.

External links[]

Preceded by:
Ron LeFlore
National League Stolen Base Champion
Succeeded by:
Vince Coleman
Preceded by:
Willie McGee
National League Batting Champion
Succeeded by:
Tony Gwynn
Preceded by:
Roger Clemens
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
Most Valuable Player

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Terry Steinbach
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Rafael Santana
Chicago White Sox First base coach
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Harold Baines
Preceded by:
Harold Baines
Chicago White Sox Bench coach
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Joey Cora