Tuesday, January 8, 2008

One More Year for James Edward Rice

He was one of the most feared hitters in the game and a perennial MVP candidate from 1975-86. He was so strong that he once broke a bat simply by checking his swinging on a pitch. He was an 8 time All Star and won the MVP Award in 1978 with over 400 total bases but with all his accolades and numbers, Jim Rice fell just 2.8% short of the votes needed to get in to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.

This was Rice’s second to last chance to get elected. Since he retired and became eligible, he has been turned down 14 straight times and now next year will be his last chance to be on the ballot. With the modern game being tarnished in steroid allegations, many think Jim Rice’s chances of getting into the HOF have improved, but the once mighty slugger whom Hank Aaron thought would break his HR record someday only finished with 382 home runs. A total that many think doesn’t belong in Cooperstown. However, having played in seven less seasons, Rice has 3 more HR’s and a higher overall batting average than recent HOF inductee Tony Perez. Also, one could argue that had he played 20 seasons like HOF Eddie Murray, that Rice would have enough home runs to get into the Hall.

Either way, Jim Rice still has a chance. The last player to win election during his final year on the ballot was Ralph Kiner. Ironically the year was 1975. The same year Jim Rice broke into the league and got the attention and respect of Hall of Famers like Hank Aaron.

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