On Tim Raines
Nationals bench coach Chris Speier, Raines' Expos teammate from 1979-84: "Tim came up as a kid with the nickname 'Rock' and he played as hard as the nickname. He, Andre Dawson and Warren Cromartie were inseparable. They would laugh and laugh and that was all we heard until the game started. Then, Rock would take off - turning singles into doubles. And if he hit one in the gap? Watch him fly. He was such a dynamic player that he would have the defense feeling like 'Uh-oh, here comes Rock.' It was so great to watch."
Boston Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski, one of Raines' Expos GMs: "Tim Raines was a star. A great player, and very deserving of being enshrined in Cooperstown. He was one of the best leadoff hitters in the game and a tremendous base stealer. I want to congratulate him on a terrific career and being elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame."
Indians manager Terry Francona, Raines' Expos teammate 1981-1985: "Tim was one of the most beloved teammates I've ever had the pleasure of being around. His personality immediately impacted the clubhouse and his play on the field, in my opinion, was Hall of Fame caliber long ago. People talk today about using all the tools, 'Rock' could beat you with his legs and his bat on any given day."
Former Montreal Expos GM Bill Stoneman: "What I remember most about Tim was first that he was a good guy, and second, that unbelievable lightning speed and a really high on-base percentage. He caused a lot of problems for pitchers. When you were playing against Tim Raines, with him at the top of the order, he was usually on base and the pitcher would have to pay a lot of attention to him. There was no telling when Tim was going to run, and when he ran he was usually safe."
Michael Barrett, Nationals catching coordinator and Raines' teammate with Montreal during his second stint, in 2001: "The moment that I knew Tim Raines was a Hall of Fame player was his first at-bat back in Montreal. It was the loudest and most excited I ever saw those fans in Montreal. That's when I realized he was a Hall-of-Famer, and that he was worthy of being a Hall-of-Famer just based off the excitement that he brought. I didn't really realize until that moment that he was everything that I thought he was as a kid growing up. When you think of great players you think of consistency and what I loved about him, what made me feel like, in my heart, he was a Hall of Famer was how consistent he was on and off the field. He brought energy when he played, and energy in the clubhouse and the dugout. The word that I think described him the most, it's kind of odd, was rapture - that feeling of being carried away by overwhelming emotion. I know 'rapture' you think biblical terms, but I looked it up and it was dead on. It was intense. Being with him on a daily basis was intense in so many great, fun ways. It never seemed like Tim Raines would have a bad day, even at the end of his career when he wasn't playing as much, he still had the energy of that leadoff hitter, that impact player. When you look at the players who benefitted, and ended up having Hall of Fame careers because he was their leadoff hitter, that's a trademark. How many runs did he score, and how many RBI did Andre Dawson and Gary Carter have because he was their leadoff hitter? He was a huge catalyst for those guys success as well."
Nationals Manager Dusty Baker: Tim Raines came in to the league and was one of the most exciting, dynamic, rookies in that era. He loved to play baseball. He was a great dude, and I respected him as one of the guys on the other side, but man he could wreak havoc on a game for the opposition."
On Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez
Nationals President of Baseball Operations & GM Mike Rizzo: "This is a really proud day for me, to see Pudge elected to the Hall of Fame. Pudge was the first true free agent I signed as General Manager, and he'll always have a special place in my heart. I have one jersey framed and hung in my office. It's his. That aside, if his careerwasn't capped with election to the Hall of Fame, I'd have been shocked. Between his outstanding offensive production and that throwing arm - bringing opposing team's running games to a grinding halt - he exemplified what a two-way catcher should be. Even at the end of his career, when he was here in Washington, his work ethic and dedication to the game was unlike any other. To know that Pudge will be the first player with 'Nationals' listed as one of his teams on his Hall of Fame plaque is really special for me and I am so happy for him today."
Nationals OF Jayson Werth, a teammate of Rodriguez's in 2011: "When I got to Washington, one of the people on the team I was most excited to share the clubhouse with was Pudge. Growing up, I was a catcher and I always admired his game the most. The hustle, the fire, the excitement. Most of all, the production. He was well-known for being a hard worker, but the one thing that will always stick out when I think of Pudge was a Spring Training game early on in 2011. When the position guys came out of the game early, they were supposed to run six sprints of about 90-100 feet. Not a lot, but at the end of the day it's more challenging than one would expect. I was playing right field and the sprints were to take place on the right field warning track, starting at the foul pole. There were two players running that inning and Pudge was one of them. The other was a younger player, just getting to the big leagues, whose career fizzled out like his sprint work. He ran only four legs of the required six, cutting it short on distance and effort, and took it in. Pudge, instead of running the required 90-100 feet, ran from the right field foul pole all the way to the left field foul pole - giving it everything he had. He was on the brink of 40 years old and his effort and grit was still at a Hall of Fame level, doing way more than what was required. The contrast between the two players couldn't have been more glaring. The Hall of Famer's post-game sprints represented everything that you thought about him: giving everything he had to the game, leaving it all on the field, going far beyond the call of duty -- even in early March and at the end of a storied career. He never took the easy way out. My childhood admiration grew that day to an all-time high, matching the respect and integrity that Señor Pudge has for the game of baseball. Pudge Rodriguez, a true Hall of Famer."
Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg, a teammate of Rodriguez's in 2010 & 2011: "Pudge exemplified a true professional. Competing on the same field with him is something I will truly never forget. Being his teammate made me appreciate the man he is even more."
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, Rodriguez's teammate in 2010 & 2011: "Pudge broke into the Major Leagues in 1991, so when he came to our team practically 20 years later he'd played over 2,300 big league games. And yet, what stays with me most about Pudge was watching him work those two years, work he did before he even stepped on the field. It was honestly something I feel fortunate to have been able to be around and to see firsthand. Even then, even at the end of his career, with all he'd already accomplished, what he did for the team - sharing his knowledge of the game - I felt like he made everyone around him better. He challenged you to raise the level of your game. You couldn't watch him, couldn't see the way he went about his business and how he treated the game, and not want to put in that same amount of effort."
Wilson Ramos, former Nationals catcher and Rodriguez's teammate in 2010 & 2011: "When I came to the Nationals in 2010, one of the best parts of the trade for me was that it meant that I would get to work with Pudge. Simply put, Pudge is my all-time favorite player. Growing up in Venezuela, he was the player I aspired to be. To play with him, and to learn from him at the Major League level, was nothing short of a dream come true for me. I am honored that I was able to call him a teammate and I am so happy for him today, as he is now forever a Hall of Famer."
Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench: "Ivan should be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He was the complete catcher, incredibly durable and intimidating behind the plate but also a very good hitter. It is remarkable he played at such a high level for so long. I am amazed at the number of games he caught, the 13 Gold Gloves he won. That's truly impressive."
Nationals manager Dusty Baker: "Pudge was a great catcher. Playing against him, he shut down the running game. I mean, shut it down. That's big -- you didn't run at all. He was a great clutch hitter and an outstanding, durable catcher."