Weekend of celebrations for former Expos great Tim Raines kicks off in Montreal
Montreal is rolling out the red carpet over the weekend for former Expos great Tim Raines to celebrate his induction into the Hall of Fame.
The weekend kicked off with a fundraiser gala Thursday night.
It was put together by Baseball Quebec to raise money to fund amateur players.
The theme was baseball: beer flowed into plastic cups, buttered popcorn distributed in brown bags, all to the tune of the stadium anthem, Take me out to the ball game.
Raines shook hands and thanked the dozens of people who congratulated him for his upcoming induction which will take place next July in Cooperstown, N.Y.
The announcement of his induction came last January during his 10th and final year of eligibility, but the emotion hasn’t worn down in Montreal.
On Thursday night, Raines also dropped the puck at the Bell Centre for the Habs’ game against the Florida Panthers.
“I’m very humbled, this is pretty much where I grew up,” Florida-born Raines said.
On Friday morning, Raines will be heading to Montreal City Hall where Mayor Denis Coderre will be giving him the keys to the city.
Later that evening, Raines will be honoured at the Olympic Stadium right before the Toronto Blue Jays and the Pittsburgh Pirates face off in an exhibition game.
“We had a a lot of fun in the ‘Big O.’ The fans came to cheer and I came to help them cheer,” Raines said.
“Those were the days, and hopefully, we’ll get that back.”
The Montreal Expos selected Raines in the fifth round of the 1977 Major League Baseball draft.
He debuted as a pinch runner in 1979, kicking off an 11-year run with the Expos.
Raines was traded to the Chicago White Sox at the end of 1990, but Montreal never forgot him.
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.