NEW YORK (WFAN) — Tim Raines says he’s relieved his wait for Cooperstown will finally end next month.
Raines was elected to the Hall of Fame in January. The former Yankee was in his 10th and final year of eligibility for the Hall.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Raines told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Friday. “I never gave up hope. As a matter of fact, (former Expos teammate) Andre Dawson wouldn’t let me do that. … He always called me every year. He said: ‘Man, don’t worry about it. It’s going to happen. It’s a process.’ And sure enough, it was a long process, but thank God that day has come.”
Raines played 23 seasons in the majors. While he’s best remembered for his years with the Montreal Expos, he also played for the White Sox, Yankees, A’s, Orioles and Marlins.
He was one of the best leadoff men of his era and is ranked fifth all-time in stolen bases with 808.
“I wanted to be that catalyst for the team, and I felt like the leadoff role was perfect for me,” said Raines, who has a new autobiography out, “Rock Solid: My Life in Baseball’s Fast Lane.” “I felt like I could get on base regardless if it was a walk or I had some power if I needed it.
“I was a student of stealing bases,” he added. “I watched the pitchers. I watched their motions. I kept an eye on what they were doing even though I wasn’t on the base path, and I kept a book on all those guys.”
Raines played for the Yankees from 1996-98, winning the World Series twice with the Bombers.
The 1996 team was especially interesting because it had a bench that included aging stars such as Raines, Darryl Strawberry and Cecil Fielder.
“From Day 1 in ’96, when I came over there, I saw a lot of guys I played against over the years, a lot of guys that I was a fan of over the years,” Raines said. “And there we were all there together, and we were playing with a bunch of young guys like (Derek) Jeter and (Jorge) Posada and Mo (Mariano Rivera) and (Andy) Pettitte. But those guys were ready. They were ready to play.”
To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.