Thomas believes Raines is Hall of Famer

White Sox ace Sale realizes importance of finishing season strong

Thomas believes Raines is Hall of Famer

CHICAGO -- If Tim Raines gets over the 75 percent mark in next year's Hall of Fame balloting, White Sox legend Frank Thomas will be happy to welcome his former teammate to the elite club where Thomas resides via first ballot.

"He deserved to get in this year," said Thomas after his private SoxFest seminar Saturday. "Rock's one of my best friends in life and I love him. He was a great mentor, a great teammate, one of the best teammates ever.

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"I've been in a locker room so long and you meet a couple of guys that rub you that way your whole career and Tim was one. He was a positive impact on a lot of people. And like I said, he had a career that he went through some ups and downs, but he learned and he always talked to young kids. When young kids came up, he always had something good to tell them."

Raines played with the White Sox from 1991-95, finishing his career with 2,605 hits, 170 homers and 808 stolen bases. Raines gained momentum this year by reaching 69.8 percent, but Thomas simply believes the greatest power-hitting leadoff man deserves to be elected.

"There are three great leadoff hitters of all time: Pete Rose, Tim Raines and Rickey Henderson," Thomas said. "You look at those stats those guys put up, and all three belong in the Hall of Fame.

"Hopefully Tim gets there. But it's one of those things, people know in their eras who are the greatest leadoff hitters of all time."

• One of the most frustrating moments during general manager Rick Hahn's player exit interviews at the end of last season came when Chris Sale talked about how great he felt and that he had another six or seven starts left in him. Sale's 1-4 record and 4.34 ERA over his final six starts had nothing to do with fatigue.

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"Yeah, I just stunk," Sale said. "It doesn't matter how you start, it's how you finish. It's something I need to clean up and do a better job of, but that's the most important part, too, is being strong at the end of the season."

Hahn knows that players of Sale and Jose Abreu's ability deserve to be on the postseason stage.

• During Saturday morning's Town Hall meeting, White Sox manager Robin Ventura used the phrase, "Everybody has issues" when talking about his team's '15 struggles. That comment suddenly turned from a throwaway line to the White Sox new 2016 slogan, as announced by Ventura to a great deal of laughter at the Hilton Chicago.

It didn't take long for White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing Brooks Boyer to run with the idea. Boyer took a SoxFest T-shirt to their custom T-shirt booth and had "Everybody has issues" printed on the back. The shirt was given to Ventura.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.