Tim Raines inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame
Published Sunday, July 30, 2017 10:04AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, July 30, 2017 6:13PM EDT
At long last, former Montreal Expo Tim Raines has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with the support of a sizable cheer squad.
Raines was joined by members of his family, while dozens of Expos fans showed their support in Cooperstown N.Y. Four buses organized by fan group Expos Nation left Montreal for the ceremony early Sunday morning to attend the big event.
The baseball great was honoured on the grounds outside the Clark Sports Center, along with a number of other Hall of Fame inductees, fellow ‘boys of summer’ Ivan Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell, John Schuerholz and Bud Selig.
More than 50 Hall of Famers were in attendance to honour the class of 2017.
Fans were delighted that Raines has gone into the Hall of Fame as an Expo, even though he played for six teams during his career.
The inscription on the Hall of Fame plaque commended Raines for "a dominant 10 year stretch with more hits, runs scored, and times reaching base than any other Major Leaguer."
An emotional Raines -- who claimed to be fighting off a cold-- gave a very family-centered speech, only briefly mentioning his time playing with the Montreal Expos.
"I have to apologize to the French Canadians," Raines said during his induction speech. "I've been trying for 25 years to speak your language-- and I'm not there yet."
Try and try again
It’s been a long road to Cooperstown for Raines.
The baseball great was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in January, in his tenth and final year of eligibility.
Raines won the support of 86 percent of the sports reporters who cast ballots. According to the rules a player can only be eligible for ten years, and is required to get 75 per cent of approval from the voters.
Raines becomes the third Expo to take his place in the Baseball Hall of Fame following Gary Carter and Andre Dawson.
An impressive career
The former outfielder played 13 out of 23 of his pro seasons with the Expos from 1979 to 1990.
Raines is a seven-time All-Star, nicknamed ‘Rock’, and is widely regarded as one of the best lead-off hitters and base runners in history.
At the end of March Raines returned to Montreal and received a long, thunderous ovation when he was introduced in a pre-game tribute before a pre-season game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Waving to fans in the Olympic Stadium, he was greeted in the infield by a number of former Expos including Steve Rogers and Warren Cromartie.