MLB: Tim Raines Was the Second-Best Switch-Hitter to Play for the Yankees

Let's get one thing straight: We are attempting to determine the second-greatest switch-hitter to have played for the New York Yankees.

We are not limiting it only to his Yankees years.

Tim Raines is the second-greatest switch-hitter to have played for the Yankees.

Raines batted .294/.385/.425 during his career. He stole 808 bases, leading the National League from 1981-84.

He won the 1986 National League batting title in 1986, hitting .334 with a league-leading .413 on-base average.

Raines played for the Yankees as his career neared its end. From 1996-98, he batted .299/.395/.429 as a part-time outfielder and designated hitter. He helped the Yankees become World Champions in 1996 and 1998.

Please, stop screaming "Bernie Williams."

There is no doubt that Bernie contributed much more to the Yankees than Raines, but that's not what is being discussed.

How does Bernie Williams' career compare to that of Tim Raines?

Bernie won the 1998 batting title with a .339 average. He became the first player to win a batting title, a Gold Glove award and play on a World Champion in the same season.

For his career, Williams batted .297/.381/.477. He averaged twice as many home runs (22) over a 162-game season than Raines (11). 

But Williams averaged only 11 steals while Raines averaged 52 with an 85 percent success rate.

Williams was a fine defensive center fielder, but he lacked real defensive instincts (who said "Mickey Mantle?").

Both Bernie and Mickey had great speed, which helped them tremendously, but in his last few seasons, Williams went back on deep fly balls as if the fence were not his friend.

Raines was an excellent defensive player. He led all National League outfielders in 1983 with 21 assists, making only four errors.

When Raines was switched from left field to center, Felipe Alou, who played next to Willie Mays, said:

"I think he'll wind up as the best center fielder in the game. He may not have Mays' or Dawson's arm, but he has great range, and with his speed he can play shallow. He gets a good jump on the ball, and he's not bothered by walls."

A major factor in Williams' favor is that he was a tremendous performer in October.

Against the Baltimore Orioles in the second round of the 1996 playoffs, Williams won the game with an 11th-inning home run off Randy Myers. Against the Boston Red Sox in the second round of the 1999 playoffs, Williams won the game with a 10th-inning home run off Rod Beck.

Raines helped the Yankees in the playoffs and World Series, but his performances pale next to those of Williams.

It is extremely easy to allow oneself to be seduced by Williams' playoff performances, but his only outstanding World Series performance was in 2003. He struggled in the others.

When one examines their careers, Raines gets a slight edge as the second-greatest switch-hitter to have played for the Yankees.

Bernie Williams easily had the second-greatest career of any Yankees switch-hitter while with the Yankees.

So what about Jorge Posada or Mark Teixeira? I don't think so.

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