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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Congratulations Rice!

No, this post is not about Condi Clueless.

Retired Red Sox superstar Jim Ed Rice was named to the baseball Hall of Fame today on his 15th and final try. Rice was a rookie in 1975 (the year after I graduated high school), and along with fellow rookie Fred Lynn and veterans Carl Yastrzemski, Dwight Evans and Luis Tiant led the Sox to the AL Championship and a seven-game World Series loss to the Cincinnati Reds in one of the most memorable Series ever played (at the end of which, a fellow Bostonian on my college dorm floor broke off the arm of a chair and flung it out a closed glass window in frustration).
Rice, among the game's most feared sluggers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, got 76.4 percent in his 15th and final year on the ballot after falling just shy with 72.2 percent last year.

"The only thing I can say is I'm glad it's over with," the Boston outfielder said. "I'm in there and they can't take it away."


Rice was only the third elected by the BBWAA in his final year, joining Red Ruffing (1967) and Ralph Kiner (1975).

The pair will be inducted into the Hall during ceremonies on July 26 in Cooperstown, N.Y. Former Yankees and Indians second baseman Joe Gordon, elected posthumously last month by the Veterans Committee, will also be inducted.


Rice received only 29.8 percent of the vote in 1995, when he appeared on the ballot for the first time. He initially topped 50 percent in 2000 and reached 64.8 percent in 2006 -- the highest percentage for a player who wasn't elected in a later year was 63.4 by Gil Hodges in 1983, his final time on the ballot.

Some thought Rice's prickly personality and curt relationship with reporters during his playing career helped keep him out of the Hall all those years.

"I don't think I was difficult to deal with for writers. I think the writers were difficult to me," he said. "I wasn't going to badmouth my teammates. When you start talking about my teammates or what goes on outside baseball, I couldn't do that.

"I don't know why it took me so long. I don't even want to think about it," he added. "I'm just happy I'm in and that's what I'm going to cherish."

What did he learn all these years?

"Be patient and wait until the last out," Rice said. "I guess everything was just timing, because my numbers have not changed over the last 14 years."


Rice, the 1978 AL MVP, was an eight-time All-Star who hit 382 home runs in 16 seasons with the Red Sox from 1974-89. He had a .298 career batting average and 1,451 RBIs and from 1977-79 averaged .320 with 41 homers and 128 RBIs.

He becomes the fourth Hall of Famer to have spent his entire career with the Red Sox, joining fellow left fielders Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski, along with second baseman Bobby Doerr.

"That's I think one of the biggest accomplishments," Rice said.
This is a well-deserved honor for number 14 that was too long in coming.

A hypochondriac who used to complain about his hamstrings all the time was also elected to the Hall of Fame. His nickname rhymes with quick.


At 12:35 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

i'm surprised it took Rice so long. I am also shocked Gil Hodges never made it.
Perhaps it's time to include an objective criteria( in addition to , not rplacing) the current method.
I.e. if some one receives the MVP 3 or more years or starts in the All-Star game 8 or more times.
Sometimes stars overstay their welcome and the performance in their waning years skews their overall stats. Or people like Willie Mays who served in the military during their prime can lower their cumulative stats.


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