As is often the case with these things, not all of my responses to his questions were included in the article. So, here's the entire Q&A, in case you're interested:
- Briefly describe who you are and why you are a fan of Tim Raines.
My name is Dan McCloskey, and I’m an amateur baseball writer who has written for various sites, including my personal blog Left Field. I don’t really have a conventional reason for being a huge supporter of Raines. I was a fan of his during his playing days because I’m a fan of the game first and he was a great player, but my admiration of is not due to being a fan of the teams he played for. I simply came to realize he’s one of the best players outside the Hall of Fame who still has a legitimate chance at induction.
- When did you start the Twitter account? How did you get the idea?
I started @RockInTheHall in early 2012, just after that year's Hall of Fame voting announcement. At least part of the inspiration for the idea came from Bert Blyleven's recent election and the grassroots nature of the campaign that helped get him elected.
- What are you hoping to accomplish with the account?
Originally, I wasn't expecting much except to have some fun doing it, but in the back of my mind my goal was, and still is, that I somehow could play a small role in helping Raines get his Hall of Fame due. Perhaps some additional motivation comes from a desire to draw some attention to my baseball writing aspirations.
- What kind of response have you received so far?
The response has been pretty good. The account has over 500 followers, including quite a few who are really devoted to Raines' cause. In fact, rarely do I tweet some factual information about Raines that doesn't get retweeted at least a couple times. That's more than I can say for my primary Twitter account (@_LeftField), which has more followers, but nowhere near as dedicated the following.
- What other efforts are you making (online or otherwise) to make the case for Raines?
I’ve written about Raines various times for my blog, including identifying him as the greatest eligible left fielder not in the Hall of Fame and showing that he compares more than favorably to first-ballot Hall of Famer Lou Brock. I also recently made a two-minute argument for Raines on the High Heat Stats podcast, but otherwise most of my efforts of late are via the Twitter account.
- Give me your best argument of Raines in one paragraph.
Only eight players in history have reached base 4000 times, scored 1500 runs, stolen 500 bases and were worth more than 60 wins above replacement for their careers. Five of them (Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan, Paul Molitor, Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner) are first-ballot Hall of Famers; one (Eddie Collins), while not being elected on the first ballot, was among the first 16 player inductees in the Hall's history; and the remaining two are Barry Bonds and Tim Raines. If you prefer an approach that's not based entirely on statistics, I give you the fact that ESPN's Hall of 100 named Raines the 96th greatest player of all-time, which would rank him among the top 50% of a Hall of Fame that consists of 208 members inducted as players. Tim Raines clearly belongs in this exclusive club.
- Anything else I should know?
I just want to say thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about my efforts on behalf of the Hall of Fame candidacy of Tim Raines.