What are Raines' chances in '08?

Updated: January 12, 2007, 6:24 AM ET
Tim Raines' qualifications for the Hall of Fame are quite strong; he's one of the 100 best players in the game's history and one of the five or so best leadoff men; he was probably the best player in the National League in the mid-1980s; and he was an icon in the go-go years of the stolen base in that same decade. But his chances for the Hall of Fame are widely seen to be slim.

I contacted 30 Hall of Fame voters to ask if they thought they would vote for Raines in next year's ballot. Of the 26 who responded with an answer, 17 said yes, they would probably or definitely vote for Raines. Seven said no, and two were unsure of their votes. Seventeen of 26 is 65 percent, and while selection bias makes this less than a meaningful sample, it's not that likely that we're off by a factor of two. Raines has a good shot to appear on more than half the ballots next year, which would make him a near-lock for an eventual election.