The Rhetoric of Raines: How a Change in Definition Affected One Player's Hall of Fame Candidacy



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis uses Edward Schiappa’s definitional ruptures to analyze the word fame in regards to the Baseball Hall of Fame located in Cooperstown, New York. From 2008-2017, former Major League outfielder Tim Raines was on the ballot as a possible inductee and had a large amount of debate surrounding his candidacy due to the changing ideas about baseball, its statistics, and player abilities were worth honoring in the sport. Schiappa’s definitional rupture was chosen because it allows an examination of the three main parts of any definitional process and can explain the reasoning for a definitional change. The results add to the existing body of literature on definitional rupture as well as provide an example of a case where there is never a specific, set definition. The analysis discovered that a change in definition did occur for fame in the context of baseball, with advanced statistics at the forefront of the new definition. This redefining shifted the focus of the essential values in baseball opened a new door for Tim Raines, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2017.



Baseball, Rhetoric, Hall of Fame, Communication, Definition