One of the most exciting players of the 1980’s, Tim Raines would lead the National League in Stolen Bases four years in a row and would make seven consecutive All Star Games.  “The Rock” would also win a Batting Title and On Base Percentage Title in 1986 and would make the top ten in MVP voting three times.  On his 15th and final year on the ballot, Raines would finally enter the Baseball Hall of Fame, and did so waering the cap of the Expos.  
Last year, we did our first ever debate on where we tackled the Hall of Fame merit of twenty-four men who are on the Hall of Fame ballot, in what was in our opinion the most loaded ballot in our lifetime.

Since it was so much fun last time, we thought we would do it again!

One thing that has not changed is the number.  We will again debate twenty-four men who are on the ballot.

What has changed are the ones debating.  Last year I had the pleasure of having DDT, the curator of DDT’s Pop Flies blog and D.K. of the Phillies Archivist blog.  This year, Spheniscus, who has participated in past Rock and Roll discussions, will be joining me.

Chairman: Collateral Damage.

Who is going to be the first real victim of the move from fifteen years to ten?  The answer is Tim Raines, who is entering his ninth year on the ballot after coming off a near ten percent jump from 46.1% to 55.0%, but with only this year and next to draw from, matching that jump each year still puts him on the outside looking in.

I am a Jays fan, but more than old enough to remember the glory days of the 1980’s Montreal Expos with Gary Carter, Andre Dawson and Raines, the four time National League Stolen Base champion.  I loved his speed, his batting eye (.303/.413/.449 Slash Line) and an occasional Home Run or two. 

He has the traditional stats, the advanced stats with a bWAR and JAWS of 69.1 and 55.6, both of which over the average HOF left fielder. 

Is this an Expos thing?  Carter had moments with the Mets and Dawson won the MVP with the Cubs but Raines was only All-Star caliber in Montreal.

Spheniscus: The Expos? I vaguely remember them. Weren’t they that team that played in Puerto Rico for a while?

Seriously though, you bring up an interesting question. The Expos have had some incredible players. In fact, two of them went in this year with Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez. Andre Dawson and Gary Carter are there as well, Carter even going in as an Expo. But what do the all of those guys have in common? There isn’t one you think of as an Expo first. Johnson? A Mariner (or maybe a Diamondback). Pedro? A Red Sox (Red Sock? I’m a fan of the team and even I can’t decide. Stupid trying to be cool pluralization). Dawson? A Cub. Carter? A Met. Vlad Guerrero will be up in a few years, but he’s an Angel. Another great Expo is on the list this year, Larry Walker, but he’s a Rocky (Rockie? Damn I should probably stop doing this). Heck, one of the numbers they retired is for Rusty Staub and he only played there for four years.

If Raines in his prime had gone to another franchise like, well, pretty much anyone else important who ever played for the Expos, he might be in already. He played the first 11 years of his career in Montreal. He then proceeded to bounce around the league, five seasons with the White Sox, three with the Yankees, stints in Oakland, Baltimore, Florida, and even back in Montreal. He just never really got the spotlight.

I mean, he won two World Series while with the Yankees. When you think back on those teams does a mental image of him even pop up? I remember Darryl Strawberry and Wade Boggs and Scott Brosius and David Cone and Chuck Knoblauch and Cecil Fielder and Dwight Gooden and even Charlie Hayes, all of whom made their biggest marks in baseball somewhere else. Raines never even springs to mind from those teams.

I also wonder if he suffers from Andre Tippett Syndrome. Tippett was the best player on my favorite team growing up, back when New England was an NFL backwater. He was a beast, a dominant force, and unfortunately someone who played the exact same position as his contemporary Lawrence Taylor who is widely considered to be the best player at his position ever. Raines has the same issue with Rickey Henderson, who is widely considered to be the greatest lead off guy of all time AND holds the stolen bases record. If you are comparing the two, Henderson is clearly the better player. The good news for Raines is that Tippett eventually was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Chairman:  It’s true.  The sad thing is that Dawson and Carter actually had better runs as Expos but they needed those runs south of the border to make themselves a bigger name.  It’s also funny how you mention that Raines won a World Series, a fact that I forget an hour after I learn every time I do a piece on him. 

Random note about that Puerto Rican team:  as a little kid I had an Expos hat and for the longest time I loved my “elb” hat.  Seriously, the only thing worse than that logo was Youupi.  Actually, Olympic Stadium might have been worse than those two put together. 

I wonder if there was never a Rickey Henderson if he would be in and would have had that unofficial title of “Best Leadoff Hitter in Baseball”?  Although, if Rickey was in the National League, Raines might not have even made it past the first year!

Bluntly, if Raines doesn’t make a significant jump, he’s screwed.

Spheniscus: The fact that he is up over 55% is a good sign. He started down below 25%. The bad news is that he bounces around all over the place. He’s up, then down a little, then up a little more. Back and forth. Sure he gained almost 10% but that was after losing 6% the year before.

The really good news for Raines is I think that if he were to get knocked off the list next year without being elected, he has a REALLY good shot of being selected by a Senior Committee. He is a new school stats darling and was popular with his teammates and respected by his peers. He probably has the best chance of anyone on this list who is in danger of being knocked off. It just shouldn’t get to that.

And if he had 15 years he would definitely get in. Did we mention it was a stupid rule?

Chairman: And it is worth mentioning it again, how stupid it is!

He is one who has my fictional vote and prediction wise, I think he bounces in the right direction, but still shy of 60 points.

Spheniscus: He is actually #2 on my list and clearly gets my vote. I will actually give him the 60. I think it comes down to the new school guys taking over and convincing their fellow voters that this has to happen. If he gets to 60 I predict he gets in next year. If he doesn’t he’s a goner from the ballot next season and not in a good way.

While the Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot for this year was already known, it is worth noting that the names on the ballot have been made official and have been sent out to prospective voters.

Let’s go through the ballot and take a quick look shall we?

The new headliner is Ken Griffey Jr., who is expected by many (including us) to enter immediately.  He holds the “1C” rank on our baseball list.  It is worth noting that the ineligible Pete Rose and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson hold “1A” and “1B” respectively.

Griffey is not the only major star making his debut on the ballot, though he is the only one we think will get in immediately.  Closer, Trevor Hoffman and Outfielder, Jim Edmonds are also on the ballot for the first time.  Hoffman is second overall in Saves, and Edmonds is a former Silver Slugger and multi-time Gold Glove Winner, and they are ranked #47 and #44 on our baseball list respectively.

Billy Wagner, Garret Anderson, Troy Glaus, Mike Sweeney, David Eckstein and Mike Hampton are also intriguing candidates who could possibly gain a few votes on their debut ballot, but are not likely to get past this year.

Brad Ausmus, Luis Castillo, Mark Grudzielanek, Jason Kendall, Mike Lowell and Randy Winn are also on the ballot, but are not expected to get any votes.

This group joins the following holdovers from last year’s ballot, which are:

Mike Piazza, (69.9%, 4th Year) Ranked #4 on

Jeff Bagwell, (55.7%, 6th Year) Ranked #5 on

Tim Raines, (55.0%, 9th Year) Ranked #7 on

Curt Schilling, (39.2%, 4th Year) Ranked #9 on

Roger Clemens, (37.5%, 4th Year) Ranked #2 on

Barry Bonds, (36.8%, 4th Year) Ranked #3 on

Lee Smith, (30.2%, 14th Year) Ranked #30 on

Edgar Martinez, (27.0%, 7th Year) Ranked #16 on

Alan Trammell, (25.1%, 15th Year) Ranked #13 on

Mike Mussina, (24.6% 3rd Year) Ranked #6 on

Jeff Kent, (14.0 %, 3rd Year) Ranked #45 on

Fred McGriff, (12.9%, 7th Year) Ranked #29 on

Larry Walker, (11.8%, 6th Year) Ranked #15 on

Gary Sheffield, (11.7%, 2nd Year) Ranked #19 on

Mark McGwire (10.0%, 10th Year) Ranked #12 on

Sammy Sosa, (6.6%, 4th Year) Ranked #18 on

Nomar Garciaparra, (5.5%, 2nd Year) Unranked on

As they have reduced the time on the ballot from fifteen years to ten, this will be McGwire’s last crack it.

Lee Smith and Alan Trammell were grandfathered under the previous rule, but this is also Trammell’s last shot as he is entering his fifteenth year on the ballot.

Who do you think will be the class that will be inducted next summer in Cooperstown?

We know this much, debates on who should get in will dominate the sports blogs and countless opinions will be given…including ours!

This is one of our favorite days of the year.

Today the Baseball Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2016 and two former baseball greats will be immortalized in Cooperstown.

As expected, Ken Griffey Jr. breezed through on his first attempt.  Griffey Jr. set a new record for voting percentage, receiving 99.3% of the vote.

Griffey’s Hall of Fame co-entrant will be former Catcher, Mike Piazza who enters on his fourth try with 83.0%.

While Griffey and Piazza are excited today, there are certainly a lot of disappointed former baseball stars that were hoping for a certain Hall of Fame call.

Longtime Houston Astro, Jeff Bagwell, continues to be snubbed.  Like Piazza, Bagwell is on his fourth year of eligibility however like many on this ballot, he received his highest vote total, with 71.6%.

It had been projected that this could have been Tim Raines year, but it was not to be as he finished fourth on the ballot with 69.8%.  Raines only has one more year of eligibility, as next year will be his tenth year on the ballot and under the new rules, the duration on the Hall of Fame ballot reduced from fifteen years to ten.  Still, this is the highest vote tally by far that he has received and this makes his vote next year the one with the biggest story attached to it.

Relief Pitcher, Trevor Hoffman made his Hall of Fame ballot debut and while he was not expected to enter on his first try, his 67.3% shows that he won’t likely have to wait long.

Curt Schilling made a sizable jump to 52.3%

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, the most decorated pitcher and hitter of the last thirty years have been snubbed to their association with Performance Enhancing Drugs.  With the elimination of voters who had not covered baseball over the past ten years, it was believed that both Clemens and Bonds would increase their vote totals, which they did.  Clemens had 45.2% and Bonds had 44.3%.  This is not a major increase for either, but it is the highest that both have posted thus far.

Edgar Martinez remains in DH purgatory at 43.4%, Mike Mussina nearly doubled his total to 43.0, and on his last year on the ballot, Alan Trammell had his largest total by a wide margin in 40.9%.  Veteran’s ballot, here he comes!

Lee Smith continued to tread water at 34.1%.  Considering the emergence of both Hoffman and Billy Wagner to the ballot, this tally is a mild surprise. 

At 20.9%, 16.6% and 15.5% respectively, Fred McGriff, Jeff Kent and Larry Walker remained in the same range and appear to be on a course to stay on the ballot for ten seasons without many significant jump to serious contention. 

Mark McGwire ends his ten year run on the ballot with a whimper with 12.3%.  If the reduction of the Hall’s voting to ten years was in fact intended to eliminate the PED users early, they have gotten rid of their first heavyweight in “Big Mac”.

Gary Sheffield and Sammy Sosa are clinging to the ballot with 11.6% and 7.0%.

A mild surprise occurred with the debuting Billy Wagner remaining on the ballot with 10.5%. 

There were some notable names who did not make the cut.

Jim Edmonds was hopeful to make the second year, but his 2.5% tally takes him off for good.

Nomar Garicaparra who was on the ballot last year, has now been kicked off on his second year with a serious drop off to 1.8%.

Receiving a vote(s) were Mike Sweeney (0.7%), David Eckstein (0.5%), Jason Kendall (0.5%) and Garret Anderson (0.2%).  Brad Ausmus, Luis Castillo, Troy Glaus, Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Hampton, Mike Lowell and Randy Winn did not receive any votes.

The ballot will crowd even more next year as Vladimir Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez will become eligible.

We are in the process now of updating our Rock and Roll list and will begin work on revising our baseball list once the Rock one is complete.

Congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza, and let’s continue to debate the next wave of immortals from the world of professional baseball!

Over the last forty-five days, both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame announced their latest classes.  Recently, we here at put together our latest list of the 500 plus Rock and Roll acts worthy of consideration for the vote that will take place in December of 2016.  Our baseball list is naturally next.

The 2016 vote saw Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza selected for Cooperstown, both of who were in our top five.  Obviously, they will be taken out of our Baseball 100, but there will be three new eligible former baseball players who will join them.

Let’s take a look at our new Baseball Top Ten.

Pete Rose and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson return as #1A and #1B.  Both Rose and Jackson are ineligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame however we felt it appropriate to include them.

This necessitated a “1C”, which was held by Ken Griffey Jr. last year.  Roger Clemens, who was #2 last year, takes over the #1C spot.

Barry Bonds holds the #2 spot and is followed by Mike Mussina, who made a sizable jump in our ranking and in the Hall of Fame vote to #3.

Tim Raines will be entering his final year of eligibility and he is enjoying his highest ranking at #4.  Jeff Bagwell, who at one time was the 1C choice, is ranked this year at #5. 

This year’s Veteran’s Committee candidate, Bill Dahlen, is ranked at #6.

Manny Ramirez is the highest new entry.  “Manny being Manny” debuts on our list at #7.

Curt Schilling returns on the list at #8 and Ivan Rodriguez make his first appearance on our list at #9.  Former Detroit Tiger, Lou Whitaker rounds out the top ten.

The other new entry on this year’s list is Vladimir Guerrero, who is ranked at #14.

We here at would like to encourage all of you to cast your votes and give us your opinions on these players and as always we thank you for your support.

Slowly but surely we are getting there.

We have added another Top 50 list to one of the Big Four of North American Team sports.
Every year, we here at champion former Montreal Expos Outfielder, Tim Raines, as a bona fide Baseball Hall of Famer.

This past week, Raines was in Chicago to celebrate the 25th anniversary of U.S. Cellular Field and was the most optimistic he has ever been for the Baseball Hall of Fame despite entering his tenth and final year of eligibility. 

Raines had the following to say:

"This is probably the first year out of the nine years that I've been on the ballot that I really, really feel like I have a chance…I think about it a lot more than I ever have in the past.

If I don't (get in), it's not the end of the world…I would love for it to happen.  But coming now to this point, being my last year on the ballot and being so close, it's getting a little nerve-wracking. I think those nerves are starting to set in. I just can't wait until it's over now."

Raines is coming off a 2016 vote of 69.8 percent, which is the farthest by far that he has received.

We here at have had Raines ranked in the top twelve since our website’s inception and are hopeful that the former leadoff sensation will enter Cooperstown next year. 

Will he get in?

Tim Raines and his Montreal Expos teammates hopes so. 

So do we!

Our favorite day here at is always when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces their annual Classes.  Our second day is when they announce their Baseball Hall of Fame Class.

That second day is here.

The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 has been announced and let’s get right to it as we have three new Baseball Hall of Famers

The highest vote getter this year is Jeff Bagwell who is selected on his 7th year of eligibility.  Bagwell received 86.2% of the vote, well up from his 71.6% last year.  It has been believed that his delay into getting into the Baseball Hall has been due to PED suspicion, but that is all there was in his case. 

Finishing second on the ballot is Tim Raines, who was on his last year of eligibility.  “Rock” had 86.0% and like Bagwell received a more than 15% jump.  For many Baseball fans, this is long overdue and many are thrilled to see him get his due.

Perhaps a bit of a surprise is that Ivan Rodriguez entered on his first ballot with 76.0%.  Statistically, I-Rod is Cooperstown worthy but he has a direct PED accusation from Jose Canseco though was never named in the Mitchell Report.

Overall, the PED users/suspected players have seen a rise in the totals, a lot of which can be attributed with the elimination of older and inactive baseball writers from the process and the induction of Bud Selig, who presided over the time that PED use arose in the game.

Let’s look at those who didn’t make the cut:

Trevor Hoffman: 2nd Year on the ballot, 74.0%

The prolific reliever did not make this year, but he was only a handful of votes away.  He finished with 67.3% last year and should get in next year. 

Vladimir Guerrero: 1st Year on the ballot, 71.7%

“Vlad the Impaler” was pegged by some as a first ballot inductee but it won’t take him long to get in.  He should be a lock next year.

Edgar Martinez: 8th Year on the ballot, 58.6%

Edgar has only two years left but this was a huge jump from the 43.4% he had last year.  Martinez was a Designated Hitter, a position that has hurt him in the past and the fact that three people got in to help thin the ballot somewhat does not hurt his cause.

Roger Clemens: 5th Year on the ballot, 54.1%

This was a huge jump for Clemens and the first time he eclipsed 50 percent.  This is up 8.9% from last year and perhaps for the first time we have a strong reason to think that the Rocket could get in. 

Barry Bonds: 5th Year on the ballot, 53.8%

See above.  Could we see in the future a year where both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens enters Cooperstown together?  A few years ago we wouldn’t have thought so, but now that seems like a possibility.

Mike Mussina: 4th Year on the ballot, 51.8%

Mussina doesn’t get a lot of attention as he is not a controversial choice, nor is he one that plays to the media.  He did however jump up past the 50% mark for the first time and is going in the right direction.

Curt Schilling: 5th Year on the ballot, 45.0%

Schilling dropped 7 percent, and we all know why don’t we?  He angered the media with his comments toward them and is this backlash was long expected.

Lee Smith: 15th Year on the ballot, 34.2 %

This is the end for Smith, who at one point was the all-time Saves leader.  Based on how he was trending, he was lucky to make it this far.

Manny Ramirez: 1st Year on the ballot, 23.8 %

This could be the biggest surprise.  The suspected PED users went up, but Ramirez was caught and suspended twice.  Maybe the writers thought “Manny being Manny” was not enough explanation.

Larry Walker:  7th Year on the ballot, 21.9%

While it doesn’t look like Walker will get in, he did jump up from his 15.5% from last year.

Fred McGriff:  7th Year on the ballot, 21.7%.

McGriff barely budged from his 20.9% from last year.  It isn’t looking good for the “Crime Dog.”

Jeff Kent: 3rd Year on the ballot, 16.7%

The former National League MVP moved up…0.1%.  Is there a Survivor Hall of Fame?

Gary Sheffield:  3rd Year on the ballot, 13.3%

Sheffield mildly improved but he on such a crowded ballot, he still has time to jump up considering his career stats.

Billy Wagner: 2nd Year on the ballot, 10.2%

Wagner actually went down from his 10.5% from the year before.  Realistically, just staying on the ballot is a win for him.

Sammy Sosa:  5th Year on the ballot, 8.6%

Sosa is still alive, so we are stuck debating him another year.

The notable player who did not make the 5% to stay on the ballot was former New York Yankee Catcher, Jorge Posada, received 3.8%.

Others who received votes were Magglio Ordonez (0.7%), Edgar Renteria (0.5%), Jason Varitek (0.5%) and Tim Wakefield (0.2%).

The others on the ballot who did not receive any votes were Corey Blake, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Carlos Guillen, Derrek Lee, Melvin Mora, Arthur Rhodes, Freddy Sanchez and Matt Stairs.

We here at would like to congratulate the latest Baseball Hall of Fame Class and we will be unveiling our next list in a month’s time.

Frank Thomas has always been critical of PED users getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  At the recent “Sox Fest”, The Big Hurt has softened his stance on that…sort of.

Ivan Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines were selected for Cooperstown this year, and Thomas is not overly thrilled with two of them anyway:

“We have two great players going in (this year) and they know. It's no secret.  If they didn't do it they would be stomping and kicking on interviews, 'I didn't do it.'

If you didn't, you come to the forefront, 'Let's take a lie detector test," and these guys won't do it. Some of these guys were great players, but they wouldn't have been great players without drugs."

Thomas did not use Rodriguez and Bagwell by name, but it was clear that these were the two players he was speaking of.

Rodriguez, who enter the Hall on his first year of eligibility was named in Jose Canseco’s book, “Juiced” as someone who he personally injected with PEDs has been someone who many have speculated (though never proven) to be a PED user.  Bagwell has also been accused by some, but again, never proven. 

While Frank Thomas is “not happy” that Bagwell and Rodriguez are inducted, he now has developed an “all or nothing” attitude in regards to higher profile PED suspected users:

“Now some guys are getting passes and some guys are not. It's wrong.  If you're going to punish Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens, how can you let the rest of these guys get in?

Either you let all those guys in and put them in a special wing or you clean it up and keep everybody out."

Based on hard line stance that Frank Thomas has taken in the past towards PED users in the Baseball Hall, this is practically a 180, or at least an acknowledgement of the era itself.

This coincides with many writers relaxing their stance on the PED users, especially with Bud Selig selected as a Today’s Game inductee.  Those writers claim that the PED rise and subsequent ignoring of it for years happened under Bud Selig’s watch. 

For what it is worth, Thomas doe support the induction of Pete Rose to the Hall and was excited with the selection of Tim Raines to Cooperstown.

Who will be the next Baseball Hall of Famer to come out in support, or against these former players?  We know it won’t take long to find out!
I don’t know about you but there was something satisfying about this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony.

Perhaps it is because the induction of Jeff Bagwell after seven years was finally was chosen, likely forced to wait for the Hall due to PED suspicion. 

Maybe it is more due to Ivan Rodriguez getting in on his first ballot.  While I-Rod never tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs, Jose Canseco named him as someone who he injected personally.  Regardless of whether that is true or not, Pudge is regarded by many as the greatest Catcher of all time by many pundits and the admission of both Bagwell and Rodriguez to the Baseball Hall of Fame suggests a sway in popular opinion as to how the PED era is looked upon, which should open the door for names such as...well…you know the names.

Maybe the satisfaction is that on his final year of eligibility Tim Raines got in after it looked like he may have to wait for a Veterans Committee Selection that are rarely doled out. 

This year just feels right. 

As expected, the speeches from this trio were emotional and focused on family and teammates.

Rodriguez was particularly teary eyed when he looked at his father and exclaimed “If I’m a Hall of Famer, you’re a Hall of Famer – double.”  Pudge’s speech went back forth in Spanish and English much to the delight of the many Puerto Rican fans who made the trip.  Only Johnny Bench made the Hall in his first try as a Catcher and fittingly he was on the dais as Rodriguez was enshrined. 

The very humble Jeff Bagwell also thanked his family and in typical fashion talked about how he “wanted to score for my team and for (his) other players”. There were a slew of Astros fans present to welcome Bagwell to the Hall to join his teammate, Craig Biggio.  Bagwell is sixth overall in JAWS amongst all First Basemen.

The long awaited induction of Tim Raines saw busloads of fans from Canada who are likely witnessing the last player to go in as a Montreal Expo.  Raines thanked three Hall of Famers for being a positive influence on his career, Andre Dawson, George Brett and Rickey Henderson.

Not to be forgotten is that former Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig also took his place amongst the immortals.  Ironically Selig presided over the PED era thus convincing some Hall of Fame voters to overlook the Suspected and confirmed PED users. 

We here at would like to congratulate this year’s class.  Our Baseball list for the next class is already up.
As we gear up for the 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting and announcements, the overriding question is: Have we returned to normal?

To put that into perspective, how's this for abnormal? In 2013, with a ballot overstuffed with Hall of Fame-caliber candidates (I counted 14), not one candidate was elected to the Hall. Adding to the debacle was the first appearance on a Hall of Fame ballot by Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both of whom brought the bubbling issue of players suspected or confirmed of having used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to an apoplectic, moralistic boil.