Jim Rice was finally elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is the first African American player who spent his career in Boston playing for the Red Sox to be elected. He played here for 16 years. I never really saw him play being a National League Atlanta Braves fan during much of his career and i was not living in Boston. But I often watch him on pre-game shows now and have learned that he does more than repeat cliches.
Tony Massarotti writes in his Boston Globe blog
Now Rice is in the Hall of Fame, after 16 years of playing, five years of waiting, and 15 years of voting. During that time, only Ralph Nader may have run a longer campaign. Rice finally will walk into the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown Sunday, July 26, and maybe it is only fitting that he will do so offering nary a glimpse into a soul that has been tortured for more than a decade.
I’m not going to get into whether he really deserves to be a Hall of Famer or not as that debate is over. But I will comment that I think Rice’s character have been maligned over the years. Massarotti again
So just who is the real Jim Rice? That is a difficult question to answer. On the one hand, Rice was a longtime terror in the batter’s box; on the other, his career ended too early and abruptly. He was the kind of man who literally would rip the shirt off a reporter’s back and then buy him a new one — he did this to onetime Globe beat reporter Steve Fainaru — and he was the kind who would carry a fallen teammate (Jerry Remy) off the field following a serious injury. Once, when a small child was hit by a line drive behind the Red Sox dugout, Rice hoisted the boy out of the seats and carried him down the dugout runway, where the child could most quickly receive medical assistance.
Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson are the two electees this year. I did see Rickey play once on my only visit to Yankee Stadium. I was in a field level box and got a glimpse of Henderson and Reggie Jackson chatting. I’m not sure who was doing the most talking but I’m sure that Rickey will out talk Rice on July 26. And so does Jim Rice.
Rice mused today that his induction speech would be short and sweet, that he would leave all of the talking to Henderson. As many laughs as the comment drew, it also happened to be true.
Congratulations, Jim Rice.