No disrespect to Rickey Henderson, who is a first-ballot Hall of Famer in anybody's book, but the big story on Monday was the election of former Boston slugger Jim Rice into baseball's museum.
Everybody knew Henderson would be voted in, though I must admit, I thought his vote total was a little low. Henderson was named on 94.8 percent of the ballots. As for that other 5.2 percent who didn't vote for him, I'm not sure what game they were watching over the past 20 or so years. Henderson indisputably is the greatest, most versatile leadoff man in the game's history.
Rice eked in on his last year of eligibility on the ballot with 76.4 percent of the vote (players on the ballot need 75 percent for enshrinement). It's been a long, agonizing wait for Rice, but it doesn't matter now. Whether a guy gets elected to Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility, eighth or 15th, he's still a Hall of Famer.
I've thought Rice was a Hall of Famer ever since I first started voting 10 years ago, and I'm glad he's finally in. Maybe he wasn't brilliant over 20 years, but for the decade or so during which he was at his best, there's no question he was one of the most dominant players of his era. He was the 1978 American League Most Valuable Player, and he finished among the top five in AL MVP voting on five other occasions.
Whether others didn't vote for him because they viewed his Fenway Park numbers as skewed, whether they had run-ins with a player most people would put on the All-Jerk team or what, I'm not sure. But any way you cut it, Rice deserves to be in Cooperstown.
And now, come July, he will.