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By any measure of WAR, Raines a Hall of Famer

Tim Raines, who played five of his 23 seasons with the White Sox, had a career .385 OBP. | Getty Images

Now that Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza have their Hall of Fame plaques, a little speculation about who’s next is only natural.

First-time eligibles for 2017 will be led by longtime Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez and outfielder Manny Ramirez, who spent most of his career with the Red Sox and Indians and hit one of his 555 home runs in a brief stint with the White Sox.

Among the holdovers, Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell received 71.6 percent of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote this time around (75 percent is needed for election). Outfielder Tim Raines, whose 23-year career included five with the White Sox, received 69.8 percent.

The ‘‘Hall of the Very Good’’ label sometimes gets tossed at Raines. It’s a label that sometimes is directed at players whose contributions come in areas that are undervalued.

Raines wasn’t a big power guy, with 170 homers and 980 RBI. His greatest skill was reaching base, and his .385 on-base percentage made him an elite leadoff man. His 808 stolen bases rank fifth in baseball history, and he was successful on 84.7 percent of his attempts.

On-base skills weigh heavily in Raines’ favor in advanced stats such as wins above replacement, which levels the playing field when comparing players of different eras who competed under changing conditions. We can look at full-career value with career WAR, peak value with best seven-year WAR or balanced value with JAWS, which averages career WAR and seven-year WAR.

With 20 Hall of Fame left fielders and Raines, we can divide them into one group of 11 and one of 10 under each WAR category, using bWAR from

Career WAR

Top 11: Ted Williams, 123.1; Rickey Henderson, 110.8; Carl Yastrzemski, 96.1; Ed Delahanty, 69.5; Raines, 69.1; Al Simmons, 68.7; Fred Clarke, 67.8; Goose Goslin, 66.1; Billy Williams, 63.5; Jesse Burkett, 62.9; Zack Wheat, 60.2.

Bottom 10: Willie Stargell, 57.5; Joe Medwick, 55.6; Jim O’Rourke, 51.3; Joe Kelley, 50.6; Ralph Kiner, 49.3; Jim Rice, 47.4; Heinie Manush, 45.8; Lou Brock, 45.2; Chick Hafey, 30.1; Monte Irvin, 21.3.

Seven-year WAR

Top 11: Ted Williams, 69.2; Henderson, 57.5; Yastrzemski, 55.4; Delahanty, 48.5; Simmons, 45.7; Kiner, 43.6; Goslin, 43.3; Raines, 42.2; Billy Williams, 41.3; Medwick, 39.7; Stargell, 38.0.

Bottom 10: Burkett, 37.2; Kelley, 36.2; Rice, 36.2; Clarke, 36.1; Wheat, 34.7; Manush, 34.7; Brock, 32.0; Hafey, 27.1; O’Rourke, 24.2; Irvin 21.2.


Top 11: Ted Williams, 96.2; Henderson, 84.1; Yastrzemski, 75.8; Delahanty, 59.0; Simmons, 57.2; Raines, 55.6; Goslin, 54.7; Billy Williams, 52.4; Clarke, 52.0; Burkett, 50.0; Medwick, 47.6.

Bottom 10: Wheat, 47.4; Stargell, 47.0; Kiner, 46.5; Kelley, 43.5; Rice, 41.8; Manush, 40.2; Brock, 38.6; O’Rourke, 37.8; Hafey, 28.6; Irvin, 21.2.

If you want to draw a ‘‘Hall of the Very Good’’ line, Raines is well above the boundary. In career, peak or balanced value by the numbers, he rests firmly in the upper half of Hall of Famers at his position.

Follow me on Twitter @GrochowskiJ.