Tim Raines and the Pitch Heard ‘Round the World

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Tim Raines was a voyeur with the http://www.dusenadup.com/sam-mills-jersey-c-1_42.html ultimate view -- a Major League Baseball dugout. On his way to becoming a four-time National League stolen-base leader, Raines witnessed some of the most awful and incredible feats in the sport, including the prevalence of cocaine in baseball in the 1980s, the shattering of Dave Draveckys pitching arm in 1989, the rise and ultimate fall of the now defunct Montreal Expos, and the dominance of the 1990s New York Yankees.
His autobiography, Rock Solid: My Life in Baseballs Fast Lane,opens with his (luckily) short-lived battle with cocaine and ends with the news that he would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017. Each struggle and success is rich in detail and emotion. Raines does not disappoint in terms of giving readers not only an inside look at life as a professional baseball player, but also an inside look at the thoughts, feelings, and sometimes conflicting emotions that go hand-in-hand with being an elite athlete.
Rainesbook is a quick read, but not always an easy one. Here is his recollection of one of the most gruesomely memorable moments in sports history -- Draveckys left arm snapping on Aug. 15, 1989, which ultimately ended in the pitcher having the arm amputated to prevent the spread of cancer:
I came to the plate expecting to take a pitch or two to see if Dravecky still had his command. I only saw one pitch, or more accurately, I heard it.
The moment Draveckys first offering left his hand, I and everyone else in Olympic Stadium heard a pop that sounded like a gunshot or a firecracker going off. Unfortunately, it was the result of Draveckys arm bone snapping in half. As the pitch sailed high in the air and to the backstop, Dravecky fell to the ground in agony. In that moment, I had conflicting instincts. Should I go out to the mound to check on the pitcher, or http://www.hl-sapporo.com/andrew-norwell-jersey-c-1_22.html should I tell Andres [Galarraga], who had already advanced to second base, to keep running? You just dont expect to see a mans arm break like that right before your eyes. I had never seen anything like it before and didnt quite know what to do.
This passage, with its exceptional detail and brutally honest emotion, puts the reader in Montreals Olympic Stadium on that fateful day. It is that kind of honesty and unfiltered insight from Raines, and prose from author and journalist Alan Maimon, that make Rock Solida true gem.
From early in his pro career, Raines was known for his speed. He stole 27 consecutive bases following his Major League debut in 1979 before getting caught, and he went on to steal 808 bases over the course of his career, including at least 70 in each of his first six full pro seasons. But Raines was more than a base-stealer; he was a seven-time All-Star and a batting champion (1986), and he is considered one of the best leadoff hitters and base runners ever to play the game.
But what might set Raines apart was not so much his talent, but his desire to do not just himself, but the game of baseball proud. A constant student of the game, Raines credits Exposteammate Andre Dawson with teaching him about the game and life.
He had a sluggers physique and a gentlemans temperament,Raines wrote of Dawson. He was the best player I had ever seen and I wanted to emulate him in every way.”  
Raines played ball during a time of massive upheaval in Major League Baseball. During only his third season in the Majors, Raines experienced the most costly work stoppage in MLB history, the 1981 strike, during which 713 games were cancelled. The strike may have cost the Expos, for whom Raines played for 12 seasons, their best shot at breaking through to become a playoff team. And it most certainly played a role in Rainesforay into drugs.
Rainesdabble with cocaine in the early 1980s could have cost him his career -- hed only been in the Majors for two years before Julius Peppers Youth Jersey turning to drugs. But an intervention by the Expos, who drafted him in the fifth round in 1977, turned Raineslife around. Getting clean allowed Raines to do what he did best during his 23-year-career -- steal bases. He swiped a career-high 90 the season after he completed rehab and he went on to testify at the Pittsburgh drug trials, which resulted in the suspension of 11 players.
 
 
Posted 18 Aug 2017

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Posted 18 May 2018

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