Me, Elsewhere: Why Tim Raines Was Not Your Padre

My latest at Hardball Times examines the time Tim Raines begged the Padres to let him come play in San Diego and they wouldn’t do it. Reader David alerted me to this episode, which occurred over a period of several weeks before the 1987 season, when collusion against free agents was in full effect.

I followed baseball then, but not the Padres, so I wasn’t aware of how close Raines had been to signing here (or of how serious a role the Padres played in collusion). When I heard about it, I did a double-take. Then I did research and found myself getting enraged with each word that came out of then-president Ballard Smith’s mouth.

Would it have been nice to have two Tony Gwynns in the lineup? I think so.

If nothing else, the Raines affair gives me greater appreciation for why some fans are so mistrustful of management/ownership groups. I was here for Tom Werner’s misdeeds, which I found outrageous enough. In many respects, Smith’s treatment of Raines and the fans of San Diego was even worse.

If you can stomach revisiting a dark period in Padres history, read the article.

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5 Responses »

  1. No team to make the claim that “they are satisfied with Ken Landreaux” deserves a chance to win a World Series. Yet the Dodgers won it a year later in 1988… of course, KL had retired by that point.

    Interesting article. A total bummer, but interesting nonetheless.

  2. I’d like to know how the owners rationalized their public posture as captains of free enterprise while conspiring to prevent the movement of labor. Just like in the days before free agency, they were radically pro-capitalist until they saw the chance to act like feudalists.

    Nowadays they target cities and counties instead of players, which is understandable based on how many times they’ve lost to the union. “You don’t get to say anything about how I run my business but you must give me hundreds of millions of dollars to do it.”

  3. I think this show just how spectacular the Pirates run of futility has been. As horrific as the Padres front office was at times (combining cheapness and stupidity is never a good mix), they still managed to have winning seasons multiple times.

  4. If ownership had not colluded during the ’80s and an open market would have prevailed, I wonder if Raines playing in San Diego would have even been an option. What could Tim Raines reasonably have commanded from an open market? Was his desire that strong to play in SD that he would have forfeited salary to play with Tony Gwynn? What would SD have been willing to pay?

  5. Interesting story. I wasn’t aware of the Raines/Padres ordeal. Thanks.