Blog Entry

Rickey, Rice and immortality

Posted on: January 12, 2009 2:16 pm

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.

Category: MLB

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2009 6:13 pm

Rickey, Rice and immortality

That was Funny!  Can someone answer the question why some 5 percent of the writers do not vote or beleive in voting a canidate on their 1st ballot. No matter who the player is?

Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: January 12, 2009 6:05 pm

Rickey, Rice and immortality

mineospizza, as a Red Sox fan, I am thrilled that Rice FINALLY made it. I sympathize and agree with you regarding Dave Parker. These two hitters were the most feared hitters for a ten year stretch. Remember that great SI cover they shared?

Baseball writers have always been arrogant or clueless or both. They play God with their votes... the perfect example being that there has NEVER been a unanimous vote for ANY player. Unbelievable.

Bert Blyleven was one of the best pitchers that I've ever seen, but will never be elected because he doesn't have enough "wins". He's being punished because he played on crappy teams.

Since: May 28, 2007
Posted on: January 12, 2009 6:04 pm

Rickey, Rice and immortality

like Andre Dawson.  I still can't believe that guy's not in there.  If you switched those two player's teams and situations, Dawson would already be in and Rice would not be.  Not a knock on Rice, but I just don't know what Andre Dawson needed to do to get in.  It's an individual honor, but too often team success and surrounding players decide whether or not you get the green light.  Dawson should have been in a few years back.

Since: Oct 17, 2008
Posted on: January 12, 2009 5:56 pm

Rickey, Rice and immortality

Jim Ed may not have been a media darling, but he finally

is where he belongs.

Great Going Jim   !!!

Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2009 5:17 pm

Rickey, Rice and immortality

moron !!! belle played 12 seasons(not alot).... 66 errors in 12 seasons????????? thats alot for an outfielder!!!  belle was a great player?? roids dude...R-O-I-D-S... I believe 95 was his best year and 96.. after that he wasnt good... 1700(ish) hits and almost 1000 strike outs.. h.o.f. worthy? NOT EVEN CLOSE !!!!

Since: Jan 27, 2008
Posted on: January 12, 2009 5:09 pm

Rice is fine... Now put the Cobra in too!

Jim Rice deserves to be in.  But not more than Dave Parker.  Is is a bias toward a career Red Sox player?  Does Parker's cocaine scandal keep him from getting the accolades he deserves?  The drug use was not performance enhancing.  Hell, it was detrimental to his on the field performance.  Compare the two careers...

Parker has more RBIs (1493 to 1451), Runs (1272  to 1249), walks (683 to 670) and hits (2712 to 2452).  Rice has a better BA (.298 to .290) and HR (382 to 339) but some of that is certainly due to a career in Fenway where Parker played most of his career in Three Rivers and Riverfront (mirror image pitchers parks).

They both won on MVP (Cobra in 78).  Similar to Rice, Parker finished in the top five for MVP voting five times.  Parker also had an All-Star MVP where he showcased his cannon of an arm (which also led to three Gold Glove awards). 

What is interesting about Parker is how he found new life later in his career.  Most people probably don't realize he led the World Series winning '89 Athletics in RBIs (more than Bash Brothers Canseco, McGwire and Dave Henderson).  Parker played in 3 World Series and won two of them.

When Dave Parker was at his best there was nobody better.  If he had been able to avoid drug use at the height of his career he surely would have gotten 3000 hits.  Despite that he still stacks up well to Rice.  Arguably better.  Somebody please go to bat for this guy!

Since: Dec 21, 2008
Posted on: January 12, 2009 5:08 pm

Rickey, Rice and immortality

Great point.

Since: Oct 11, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2009 5:00 pm

Rickey, Rice and immortality

Those poor, underpublicized Red Sox....

I don't know why it took Rice this long, but I don't think it's because nobody noticed him. I also don't think that the Reds are over-represented for HoF. They did dominate the 70's and had a couple other historic stretches, and those players were rewarded. To say that being a Red in the 80's would get you in is....well, is Eric Davis in? Rice is a throwback to the era where a 30 homer guy was a big hitter and a game changer-an era that we'll probably never see again, even with good drug testing.

I like both these selections. Rice always came across as a hard-working player and he's got numbers that put him in. Rickey be Rickey, but that aside, he dominated a game like nobody else with longevity like nobody else. Managers had to pay attention to when he'd come up because the odds were significant that he'd get on base and once he did, half the time he'd steal 2nd. Just by knowing he was coming up, you knew there was somewhere between a 30 and 50% chance you'd have a RISP-that's just crazy.


Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: January 12, 2009 4:59 pm

Rickey, Rice and immortality

Both are deserving.  Rice should have been in several years ago. 

Since: Mar 21, 2008
Posted on: January 12, 2009 4:37 pm

Rickey, Rice and immortality

Both belong for their playing abilities.  If Rice had been a Yankee, Dodger, or Red, he would have been in a long time ago.

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