For Expos fan and former sports reporter Marc Lalonde, Tim Raines was always more than just a baseball player; he was a childhood hero.
“I batted like Tim Raines, I tried to throw like Tim Raines, Lord knows I tried to run like Tim Raines, but I couldn’t,” Lalonde said. “Everything that Tim Raines did on the field, I tried to do on the field too.”
Montreal fell in love with Raines during his 13 seasons playing with the Expos and, in turn, the left-fielder fell in love with the city that made him one of its own.
“What’s unique about Tim Raines was his all-around ability,” Lalonde told Global News.
“There were guys who could hit for average in the 80s, there were guys who could hit for power and RBIs, and there were guys who could steal bases. But there were very few guys who could do all three, and do them exceptionally well.”
Raines was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January, in his tenth and final year of eligibility.
Despite having played for a number of major league teams, there was never any doubt that Raines wanted to be inducted as an Expo, joining his former teammates Gary Carter and Andre Dawson as a baseball great.
“Montreal, this is my second home,” Raines said during a press conference in March. “And I feel like I’m one of you guys.”
WATCH BELOW: Former Expos Tim Raines talks baseball
Early Sunday morning, busloads of people left Montreal for Cooperstown, N.Y. to attend Raines’ long-awaited induction.
Raines is the third Expos player ever inducted into the hall of fame, and some speculate he may also be the last.
But like many fans, Lalonde hopes that Montreal will be given a second chance to produce hall of famers.
“I’m optimistic and hopeful – and recent years have given me reason to believe – that one day we may get the Expos back,” said Lalonde.
That, only time will tell. For now, Montreal has at least one more baseball legend to be proud of.
“[Raines] was in icon for the city in the 80s, and he’s an icon for kids growing up in Montreal in 2017,” Lalonde said. “I don’t know if he’s really aware of it. But I’m insanely glad that we have him to hang onto.”
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