Former Montreal Expos star and shortstop Tim Raines is headed to the MLB Hall of Fame in the 2017 class. However, that might not have been the case if he had followed his first love in football. He was a standout in football, baseball and track at Seminole High School in Orlando, Fla. but he came close to being a Florida Gator. He spoke about what might have been his football career on a conference call Wednesday.
“When this journey first started, I wasn’t really sure baseball was the sport I should have chosen. I figured I would start out at a young age and see if I was good enough to stay in baseball. I was going to give myself actually two years. Give myself two years, see what happened. If things worked out I would continue to play baseball. If things didn’t work out I was going to walk on at the University of Florida and play football.
“My dream as a kid was to be in the NFL. Fortunately, that didn’t work out. And, thank God, baseball ended up being the sport that I chose.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Raines was a 1,000-yard rusher in only eight games and scored 18 touchdowns on the football field. He also stole home ten times on the diamond while setting school records for the hurdles and the long jump. He could have been quite the asset on those late 1970s teams coached by Doug Dickey and then Galen Hall in 1979 through 1984.
Raines had a pretty good baseball career, at least that’s what the Hall of Fame voters think anyway. He hit 170 homeruns, stole 808 bases, batted in 980 runs and had 2,605 total hits in his 24-year major league career. He also had a batting average of .294, a .385 on-base percentage and .425 slugging percentage.