Monday, January 12, 2009

Jim Rice finally to the Hall!

Finally! That was my reaction at 2:01 pm today, watching the live announcement of this year's inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was Jim Rice's 15th and final time on the ballot and, although I strongly believed he deserved the honor, I was still nervous about the how the vote would turn out. I literally let out a whoop!

Watching Jim Rice play was a huge part of my Red Sox apprenticeship. I loved watching that outfield of Rice, Freddy Lynn and Dwight Evans. And watching Rice at the plate - well, it's like watching Ortiz now. He was such a dominant hitter for ten years. Here's some stats -- From Adam Kilgore in the Globe:

Rice compiled 35 homers and 200 hits in three straight seasons, finished in the top five in Most Valuable Player voting six times, and led the league in total bases four times, including a staggering 406 in during the 1978 season, when he was named the American League MVP after hitting .315 with 46 homers and 139 RBIs in one of the finest individual seasons in franchise history.

One of my favorite parts of the pre- and post-game shows on NESN nowadays is seeing Jim, expounding on various and sundry aspects of the current Sox. (I also love that Eck, but that's a subject for another entry). Not only does he have some fun insights, he also is a pretty natty dresser!
AP Photo by S. Senne
Here's Jim at the HOF press conference this afternoon. He's always been nonchalant and noncommittal about being elected - but it was a different Jim Ed today. He was emotional talking about Yaz, about inheriting left field from him and Ted Williams. He was clearly relieved, and clearly elated.

So, here's to you Jim Ed Rice. Congratulations on an honor loooonnngg overdue!

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