One former White Sox outfielder set a new Hall of Fame election record on Wednesday while another moved closer to enshrinement.
Ken Griffey Jr. was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame after he received 99.3 percent of the vote. Griffey Jr., who played 41 games for the White Sox in 2008 when they won the American League Central, was named on all but three of the 440 ballots in his bid to become the first player unanimously elected.
Meanwhile, Tim Raines, who played for the White Sox from 1991-95, moved significantly closer to an induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y. as he received a personal-high 69.8 percent (307 of 440) of the vote.
Raines, who only has one year of eligibility left, saw an increase just shy of 15 percent after he received 55.0 in 2015. A seven-time All-Star, Raines is fifth all-time in career stolen bases and is 71st among all position players in Wins Above Replacement (69.1), according to baseball-reference.com.
Raines took to Twitter to express his gratitude to the BBWAA for considering his Hall of Fame candidacy.
— Tim Raines (@TimRaines30) January 6, 2016
Raines is headed into his final year of candidacy in 2017 after a rule change prior to the 2015 election. Whereas players used to remain on the ballot for up to 15 years, the Hall of Fame altered the rules so that current eligible candidates only had 10 years. Players who were already in years 11-15, a group that included Alan Trammell, Jack Morris and Lee Smith, were grandfathered in.
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The change meant that Raines, who first became eligible for the HOF in 2008, only had three more chances at election. Raines, who produced 16.0 WAR in five seasons with the White Sox, received 24.3 percent of the votes in his first year of eligibility. He has since jumped up — and inexplicably down twice — in the last eight years. Raines received 22.6 percent in 2009, 30.4 in 2010, 37.5 in 2011, 48.7 in 2012, 52.2 in 2013 and 46.1 in 2014.
The case for Raines — who finished with a career on-base percentage of .385 and OPS of .810 — has gained traction over the years. He finished fourth in the 2016 voting process. Jeff Bagwell improved his chances as well with a 71.6-percent showing, about 15 votes shy of the 75-percent mark to gain entry. Mike Piazza received 83 percent.
Griffey — who hit three of his 630 homers with the White Sox after he was acquired on July 31, 2008 from Cincinnati — broke Tom Seaver’s record for highest percentage of votes received. In 1992, Seaver received 98.84 of the vote. The Kid is also the first-ever No. 1 overall pick to be elected into the Hall of Fame.
Closer Trevor Hoffman received 67.3 percent in his first year of eligibility. Curt Schilling received 52.3 percent while Roger Clemens increased to 45.2 and Barry Bonds to 44.3.