Is Raines' long wait for Hall of Fame finally over?

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • In his 10th and final year on the BBWAA ballot, Tim Raines should finally gain entry into the Hall of Fame. Raines, who played for the Chicago White Sox from 1991-95, ranks fifth all time with 808 stolen bases.

    In his 10th and final year on the BBWAA ballot, Tim Raines should finally gain entry into the Hall of Fame. Raines, who played for the Chicago White Sox from 1991-95, ranks fifth all time with 808 stolen bases. Associated Press File Photo/1993

 
 
Updated 12/26/2016 7:12 PM

Is the 10th time going to be the charm for Tim Raines?

In his 10th -- and final -- year on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot, early returns indicate Raines is finally going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The prolific leadoff hitter was at U.S. Cellular Field (now known as Guaranteed Rate Field) last May, and Raines was feeling fairly confident about his Hall of Fame chances.

"This is probably the first year that I really, really feel like I have a chance," said Raines, who played for the Chicago White Sox from 1991-95. "I was 23 votes away last year. Up until that point I thought about it, when people asked me about it, and the only thing I wanted to see was how many votes I got. But this year, realizing I was only 23 votes away, I think about it a lot more than I ever have in the past."

Raines was a seven-time all star over a career spent with the Montreal Expos, White Sox, New York Yankees and Oakland A's.

The switch-hitting outfielder has a .294/.385/.425 career slash line and his 808 stolen bases are the fifth-highest total in history.

"I had a really great career," Raines said. "I know it personally. I wouldn't change a thing. I loved every minute of playing the game. It's just a situation now where I have an opportunity to close that chapter of my career. Hopefully, it's getting in.

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"If I don't, it's not the end of the world. But I just know the things that I did on the field, I enjoyed doing them and I'm sure the fans that cheered for me and cheered against me enjoyed seeing me doing the things that I did. I would love for it (Hall of Fame induction) to happen. It would be something that I never really thought of when I first started playing the game, or even when I finished playing the game."

Raines is on my ballot again, as are Jeff Bagwell and Trevor Hoffman.

After taking another look, I'm adding Mike Mussina and Edgar Martinez.

Mussina has 270 career wins, a 3.68 ERA and he threw 200 or more innings 11 times in his 18-year career. Those are statistics worthy of Cooperstown.

Martinez gets knocked for primarily being a designated hitter, but he was a great one. His career slash line of .312/.418/.515 is good enough to get my vote.

Guerrero is on the HOF ballot for the first time and he's not likely to garner the 75 percent of the vote needed for induction.

Regardless, Guerrero had a Hall of Fame career in my eyes, slashing .318/.379/.553 with 449 home runs and 1,496 RBI.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Bruce Miles breaks down his Hall of Fame picks:

For the past several years, I had been going by the old Rolling Stones adage of "time is on my side" when it came to the "Steroids Era" and the Hall of Fame. I had withheld my vote from players such as Bonds and Clemens because I wanted to hear more from them.

My time is up.

With the recent election of former Commissioner Bud Selig to the Hall of Fame, Bonds and Clemens must join him on stage.

That's only fitting since Selig was the commissioner during the "Steroids Era," and he and the game profited mightily from the exploits of players who might have been juiced up. In other words, why should the best of those players be on the inside looking out when Selig will be honored in Cooperstown come July?

Bonds and Clemens, two of the most prominent former players whose names were linked to steroids, will get my vote for the first time this year. Maybe they all deserve each other anyway, but glory for one should be glory for all.

As for the others, Raines was the best leadoff hitter not named Rickey Henderson. For me, first-timers Guerrero and Rodriguez are no-brainers.

Scot Gregor's ballot

• Tim Raines

• Jeff Bagwell

• Trevor Hoffman

• Mike Mussina

• Vladimir Guerrero

• Edgar Martinez

Bruce Miles' ballot

• Jeff Bagwell

• Barry Bonds

• Roger Clemens

• Vladimir Guerrero

• Trevor Hoffman

• Edgar Martinez

• Mike Mussina

• Tim Raines

• Ivan Rodriguez

• Lee Smith

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