|The newest baseball immortal|
One of them was Frank Thomas, the star hitter who got inducted three years ago. While the other is newly-inducted member Tim Raines.
WHO WE MAY have forgotten by now was the first base coach under manager Ozzie Guillen that season whose memories of ultimate victory make the ongoing annoyance of a Chicago Cubs championship from last season just a little bit bearable.
During induction ceremonies held at the Baseball Hall of Fame in upstate New York, Raines managed to give a plug to Thomas – although not perhaps one that “the Big Hurt” would have wanted to hear.
For Raines also played for the White Sox the first half of the 1990s, which made him a Thomas teammate. Which also made Raines fully aware of the college football injury that Thomas suffered that made him incapable of throwing a baseball worth squat.
Raines said Thomas taught him of the importance to paying attention to the ballgame at all times because any time the pitcher tried to pick off a base runner at first base and a rundown resulted, there was always the chance that Thomas would throw the ball over the second baseman’s head into left field – which means Raines would have had to chase it down from his outfield position.
NOT THAT IT’S because of Raines’ player and coach stints with the White Sox that he got into the Hall of Fame. He was one of the best base stealers during the 1980s while playing with the Montreal Expos, and it’s because of the 808 bases he stole during his career (among the highest totals ever, except some nitwits want to think he's second-rate because Rickey Henderson stole more) bthat he gained the right to have a bronze plaque bearing his image.
|From the days of youth|
One that will bear the stylized “eMb” logo of the long-defunct Expos, rather than the Old English script spelling out “Sox.”
But Raines helped bring some pleasant baseball memories to Chicago both in 2005 and in 1993, when the team he played for won a division title. That same team nearly had a chance at winning something in 1994 – if not for the labor stoppage that wound up wiping out a season, its playoffs and resulting World Series.
There are those Sox fans who will forevermore believe that World Series would have been one between the White Sox and the Expos – which Raines has said would have been a matchup of great personal interest to himself.