James Edward Rice at the Hall of Fame

Sometimes pictures tell the story.  Pictures from the Boston Globe.

A picture of the plaque, honoring Jim Rice, that will be displayed in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Jim Rice with his placque.

Rice posed with his Hall of Fame plaque.

Jim and Rickey Henderson.


Rickey Henderson (left) and Jim Rice posed with their Hall of Fame plaques.

From his speech

You always feel that after every great once-in-a-lifetime moment, there could not be anything else to top it. You find your life-long partner, that one true love. You have your first child and you spend hours wondering at the perfection of tiny little fingers and toes. You rejoice and cry through pre-elementary, middle and high school and, if you’re lucky, college graduation. You marvel at how sanity endures. Right when you thought it couldn’t get any better, you have grandchildren and a new astonishing love blossoms.

And then after 15 years, you get a phone call that you thought you’d never get. Your aspiration’s realized. Your tears overflow. Because you know now that the highest honor of your career means so much more than you ever thought it would mean before. Because what it feels like most is being welcomed at home plate and after hitting a walk off home run. You find yourself repeating the same phrases over and over:

“We made it, we made it. We made it.”

Just think about it.  Jim Rice spent his entire career with the Sox.  Is there anyone playing right now you will be able to say that about 10 or 15 years from now?  Jon Lester?  Dustin Pedroia?  Hard to say and probably not. 

I look forward to the retirement of his number 14 at Fenway and to his return to the pregame show.

And by the way the John Smoltz experiment needs to end now.  It was a good try – didn’t work.

Jim Rice makes the Hall

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.