Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice were the only two breathing players inducted into Cooperstown this weekend. It didn’t have to be this way though, and frankly it shouldn’t have been since Tim Raines belonged right alongside them. Excuse me for drop-kicking a dead horse – smarter, better writers than I have taken it upon themselves to make the case – but, take a look at the graphical argument for.
Let me preface the wOBA comparison by saying that I’m well aware most members of the BBWAA have little idea as to what the metric is, where to find it, or how it relates to on-base average. Notice that Henderson is simply on another planet, but Raines isn’t any further back than Rice at any point and actually has a longer career. Our version of wOBA takes stolen bases into account, so Henderson and Raines, two base stealing juggernauts, are naturally affected for the better.
Moving on to the actual on-base metric, Raines is right there with Henderson, ahead of Rice. You can call it unfair that Rice is being compared to two lead-off hitter types, but it is what it is. We’re not ignoring slugging – in which Rice should have the clear advantage – either, as you can see here:
As expected, Rice dominates. Raines is no Juan Pierre by comparison though, and with the exception of Henderson’s 1990 season in which he went absolutely batty. Finally, some will want batting average taken into consideration. It does nothing but help Raines’ case:
Raines matches or exceeds the new inductees in each ‘slash’ stat, yet he was at home yesterday while the other two were celebrated for their achievements. It’s an injustice, hopefully one corrected next year.