(Updated Jan. 18, 2017)
Tim Raines played like a Hall of Famer against the Cardinals.
In January 2017, Raines earned election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
The switch-hitting outfielder, who played 23 seasons in the big leagues, primarily with the Expos and White Sox, performed well against most teams, though he was especially good versus the Cardinals.
Raines had more career triples (12), walks (107) and RBI (70) against the Cardinals than he did versus any other team. Raines batted .324 against the Cardinals, with 187 hits, 105 runs scored, 68 stolen bases and a .424 on-base percentage.
Overall for his career, Raines batted .294 with 2,605 hits, 808 stolen bases and a .385 on-base percentage. Raines ranks fifth all-time in steals. Rickey Henderson (1,406), Lou Brock (938), 19th century player Billy Hamilton (914) and Ty Cobb (897) are ahead of him.
Raines showed consistent excellence versus the Cardinals from 1982-85. During that stretch, his batting average against the Cardinals was .314 or better every year and his on-base percentage each season was .417 or higher. In 1982, when the Cardinals won the World Series championship, Raines batted .391 (27-for-69) against them, with an on-base percentage of .494.
One of Raines’ most significant games against the Cardinals occurred during a 7-4 Expos victory on Sept. 18, 1984, at St. Louis. Raines had four stolen bases, giving him 70 for the season. Raines became the first player to have 70 steals or more in four consecutive seasons.
“Coming from a small town (Sanford, Fla.) which nobody has ever heard of and then coming to the major leagues, it makes me proud to be able to do what I’ve done,” Raines said after the game to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Raines would finish the 1984 season with 75 stolen bases, leading the National League for the fourth year in a row. He had 71 steals in strike-shortened 1981, 78 in 1982 and 90 in 1983.
(Though Raines also achieved 70 steals in both 1985 and 1986, the Cardinals’ Vince Coleman surpassed him as the NL stolen base leader in those seasons.)
In his book “You’re Missin’ a Great Game,” Whitey Herzog, who managed the Cardinals from 1980-90, called Raines “a great hitter with deadly speed.”
“If you don’t keep him off base, you’re going to get beat, especially when you can’t hold him on,” Herzog told Hummel.
Hard to stop
With Joaquin Andujar pitching and Darrell Porter catching, Raines swiped second base three times and third base once in his four-steals game against the Cardinals.
Raines “took advantage of Andujar’s slow release toward home plate,” Hummel reported.
“He’s got a quick move to first, but he’s got that high leg kick when he comes to the plate,” Raines said of Andujar. “He comes to the plate slow all the time. I’ve always felt that when he’s pitching, I can run.”
Said Andujar: “That guy just flies. It doesn’t matter whether you throw 100 times to first, he will still steal the base.”
After Andujar was relieved by Kevin Hagen, Raines attempted to steal his fifth base of the game but was caught by Porter.
Porter was one of just four catchers to throw out Raines attempting to steal up to that point in the season, according to the Post-Dispatch. The others: Steve Lake (Cubs), Mike Scioscia (Dodgers) and Ozzie Virgil (Phillies). Boxscore
Raines also had a standout season against the Cardinals in 1990, batting .373 (19-for-51) with 13 RBI and a .469 on-base percentage. On Oct. 1, 1990, Raines had five RBI, including a grand slam off Frank DiPino, in a 15-9 Expos triumph over the Cardinals at Montreal. Boxscore