WASHINGTON — Lost in the announcement of Ivan Rodriguez’s entry into the Pro Baseball of Fame was journeyman Tim Raines Sr.’s decision to enter as a member of the now-defunct Montreal Expos.
It was the right decision for a player who spent 13 of his 23 seasons in Montreal, including every All-Star campaign, and every season in which he got MVP consideration.
It may also be the last Hall of Fame baseball player for The City of Saints, unless Vladimir Guerrero earns the votes he needs next year. Even more fitting that Raines choose to honor Montreal, despite playing for six different organizations.
Twelve years ago, three years after Raines retired, the Expos moved to Washington, D.C. and became the Washington Nationals. While Raines never played here, he becomes an interesting footnote for the organization.
While Ivan Rodriguez (Rangers) and Jeff Bagwell (Astros) will undoubtedly get a hero’s welcome in their respective Texas ballparks this summer, Raines has no home team.
Raines once roamed the outfield in Montreal, but Olympic Stadium is now used primarily as a football stadium for the Montreal Allouettes, which ironically relocated from Baltimore in 1998.
The Toronto Blue Jays will play two exhibition games in Montreal against the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 31 and April 1. Raines currently serves as a roving outfield and baserunning instructor for the organization, making it an easy decision to honor the Hall of Famer both there and in Toronto this summer.
If his schedule allows, Raines might even be honored in Chicago, New York, Oakland, Baltimore and Miami, considering he spent time playing for each city.
But if the Nationals can make it work, they should consider honoring Raines. It won’t be the same fans, same city or same team, but it would be a nice gesture to a nomadic Hall of Famer from a city that has lost teams of its own. Raines may not have real ties to the organization, but it’s a gesture that everyone can appreciate.