Raines & Dawson Inseparable Teammates, Even in Hall of Fame
The relationship between Tim Raines and Andre Dawson is a special one.
And now, both men are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Raines finally got in, during the summer of 2017, on his tenth and final year of eligibility.
It was a significant victory for Montreal Expos fans especially.
Even Raines admits, he would not have been on that podium in Cooperstown without the love and support of Dawson.
Dawson is credited with helping Raines kick an addiction to cocaine in Raines’ early playing days.
It was an experience that bonded the two stars, Dawson says.
Raines describes Dawson as a combination of a big brother and a father figure, even though there’s not much of a difference in age.
But when he was seeking help for an addiction in 1982, Dawson was exactly the mentor Raines needed.
“I think there's no telling what would have happened in my career (had he not met Dawson),” Raines said in his Hall of Fame speech. “There was a point in my career that I felt like I needed someone to guide me in the right direction, and that guy was Andre Dawson.”
It didn’t start out so rosy, however.
“I remember my senior year in high school, at the end of the year we went to a Spring Training game in Daytona Beach (in 1977),” Raines recalled. “I didn't really know that much about the Montreal Expos. It was Andre Dawson's rookie season."
“So we go there. We watched the game. Dawson is playing. (Gary) Carter is playing. Ellis Valentine, Warren Cromartie. (I’m) just a 17-year-old kid before I was even drafted. I went up to Andre Dawson and asked him for an autograph. He denied it, not knowing that two years later we were going to be teammates.”
That changed just a few years later, when Raines and Dawson shared the same dugout and clubhouse.
“Baseball was just like a playground for me,” Raines said of his early days with the Expos. “Unfortunately I was doing it at the Major League level. And I had my fun, and I kidded around, and sometimes I kidded around with some people, like Andre, who would like knock me out from time to time, literally."
“But all in fun. I mean, Andre really didn't know how strong he was,” Raines added. “Sometimes he would hit me and he would knock me out, but I would kind of play like it didn't really hurt, but it did, and I think he knew it, too.”
The tough love was impactful for the young Raines. Especially when you consider the intimidating figure Dawson strikes as “The Hawk.”
“You know, when I first met Andre... he's not the type of guy that you can just walk up to and start a conversation,” Raines said. “He has that look about him, that, you know, you'd better come correct if you're coming to say something to Andre, and I wasn't the kind of guy that would mind up going to him, but he had that frown about him. I was a little afraid.”
“But finally, there was one time I said, forget this, this guy is probably one of the best players that ever played the game, and he's my teammate. I want to kind of be like you. And he finally accepted, and I followed.”
Raines thanked Dawson during his Hall of Fame speech, “For making me the player that I became.”
“I wish I had his arms,” Raines added. “I think he wishes he had my legs. But together, me and him played the game, I'll tell you, the six, seven years we played together, there wasn't a dull day, regardless of win, lose or draw. I was just happy to have him on my side.”
Raines’ career numbers are quite impressive. Only five players have ever stolen 800 or more bases. He collected 2,605 hits, scored 1,571 runs and stole 808 bases. His 84.7 percent success rate for steals is the highest by any player with at least 400 stolen bases.
Raines may have played for six teams in his 23 seasons. But he said there was never a doubt as to which cap he would wear.
It upset him when Montreal lost its MLB team, Raines says, adding he hopes baseball returns there someday, and that he is a part of it, somehow.
Arangez-vous pour que cela arrive. (Make it happen!)
Tim Raines’ National Baseball Hall of Fame plaque is inscribed with the following:
Timothy Raines, Sr. "Rock." Montreal NL 1979 through 1990 and 2001; Chicago AL 1991-95; New York AL 1996-1998; Oakland AL 1999; Baltimore AL 2001; Florida NL 2002.
A switch-hitting lead-off man whose speed, extra-base power and plate discipline were the perfect table-setting tools to fuel the 1980s Expos.
Burst on to the scene in 1981, the start of a dominant 10-year stretch with more hits, runs scored, and times reaching base than any other National Leaguer.
The only player with six straight years of 70 or more steals, led the NL four times.
Totaled 808 stolen bases with a remarkable success rate of 84.7 percent.
An All-Star outfielder in each of his seven full seasons, won the 1986 NL battle title, won two World Series rings with the Yankees.