Tag Archives: Jim Rice

Jim Rice Deserved The Hall Of Fame More Than Rickey Henderson!

13 Jan

Good news today for me as a big part of my childhood was validated.  I grew up in the New York area rooting for the Red Sox.  My Junior High memories consist largely of fending back the taunts of the many Yankee fans who were my classmates during the awful summer of ’78.

One of the few things that got me through those lean Red Sox years was the knowledge that my team had Jim Rice on it.  Sure, the Yankees had Reggie and he absolutely had a flair for the dramatic.  But, I knew from the mid-70s to the early 80s that my team had the most feared slugger in the game on it.  Rice could hit for power and average.  Reggie?  Well…. He hit for power and drama.

After waiting 15 inexcusable years, Jim Rice made the Hall of Fame today.  In doing so, Rice proved that my childhood memories of his greatness and all it meant to me were real.  Rice is a baseball great.  He was an all timer in his heyday and it was documented and ratified today by Cooperstown.  About time!

Maybe it’s the heady air of baseball Olympus, but let me say one more thing.  Jim Rice deserved the Hall of Fame more than Rickey Henderson.

Yes, OVERALL, Henderson is clearly more of a slam dunk as a Hall of Famer.  He is, without a doubt, one of the best lead off men in the history of the game.  It likely comes down to him, Pete Rose or  Ty Cobb.  In contrast, Rice’s career came to a relatively early end due to series of injuries that prevented him from putting up numbers that would have more than solidified his case.

But you know what?  Back in the day, how many of us would have taken Jim Rice over Rickey Henderson if given the chance?  That’s right.  A whole lot of us. 

I love the sabermetric approach to baseball.  I think Bill James is one of the smartest minds ever to waste his time studying baseball & am thankful he did.  Due to James and his ilk, we know so much more about the game.  I’m a big believer in on base percentage.

That all said, I remember the era that Rice played in.  Back in those days, there weren’t that many guys who could do what he could.  Forty homers, .320 batting average and a ton of RBIs meant something in the 1970s.  It meant intimidation and teams working hard to beat you.

Rickey, though amazing and clearly disruptive to other teams, was never viewed or game planned against as Jim Rice was when both were at their best.  Knowing what we know know about the important of on base percentage, etc, maybe those 70s  & 80s managers and baseball executives were wrong to value Rice more than Henderson.  But, they did.  That has to count for something.

No matter what else Rice’s shortcomings (hitting into double plays, not the greatest defensively), no one ever doubted Jim Rice came to play.

Can the same be said of Rickey?  I don’t think so.  In the rush to make Rickey a first ballot HOFer, everyone seems to have forgotten Rickey’s Yankee tenure.  While in pin stripes, Henderson became unhappy about his contract, which resulted in him clearly dogging it to protest. 

That’s a first ballot hall of famer?

Jim Rice had to wait 15 long years and Rickey Henderson gets in on  one ballet with nary a mention of the fact that for certain stretches of his career he simply didn’t show up to play. 

No one ever said it was a fair world.

My point isn’t that Henderson isn’t a first ballot guy.  My point isn’t that Henderson didn’t accomplish more his career.

My point is that after being made to wait for far too long, Jim Rice finally came home today.  And due to his long and unwarranted  journey through the Cooperstown wilderness, Jim Rice deserved today even more than Rickey Henderson.


500 Home Runs Later… Manny Is Still Just Being Manny!

2 Jun

When history starts putting together its list of this generation’s best hitters, it’s a done deal that at least one goofball will be on it. And that chucklehead will be Manny Ramirez. 500 home runs later and Manny is still just being Manny. 

As bogus a stat as RBIs may be, Ramirez has produced boat loads of them.  The man hits for high average. And unless his legacy is tainted by a future steroid scandal, Ramirez has big time power as well, as proven by his having just joined MLB’s elite 500 Homer Club.  Most importantly, Manny comes through in the clutch. Although slightly eclipsed by Big Papi in recent years, when it comes to crunch time Manny is the anti A-Rod.

It’s no coincidence that Manny succeeded where legendary Boston hitters before him failed. Consider that Ted Williams, Yaz and Jim Rice all left Boston with no rings. Baseball may not be an individual sport, but then again baseball has never seen an individual quite like Manny Ramirez before.

Perhaps no other star has been so close to being shown the door so often. I remember back in the early days of Manny’s BoSox tenure when the Sox where so ready to give Manny away they would’ve take those ten bats that that minor leaguer was traded for recently.  Of course, that was all before the championship starved Red Sox got two titles in four years. Back then, Manny was just an impossible guy to figure out with a HUGE contract that boggled the mind.

These days, his contract doesn’t look so out of whack anymore. And Ramirez keeps producing. Meanwhile, The Sox have stopped trying to figure him out. For Manny, things are good in Beantown. Of course, with Ramirez that could all change tomorrow.

So what is it about Manny?  How is he able to be so successful even as controversies swirl about him? How does he keep turning out one good season after another, even while being almost chased out of town?

My theory is simple. He’s a baseball savant. Manny is one of those rare individuals who simply doesn’t care. He got criticized some time ago for saying that if he lost in the playoffs it wouldn’t be the end of his life.  And you know what?  Manny is right.





Either because he’s a deeper thinker than we give him credit for or because he’s not really a baseball savant but rather a baseball idiot savant, Manny is completely unfazed by pressure.  He realizes that baseball is a game.  He realizes that it gives him a good life, but that at the end of the day it’s not life or death for him.


As fans, most of us don’t want to hear that a guy we’re rooting for isn’t living and dying with every win or loss.  We tend to like our players in the Pete Rose mold.  The old anything for a win guy, who’ll have a miserable off season if his team doesn’t win it all every year.

For players, my bet (as I’ve certainly never been close to a pro athlete despite being a terror at floor hockey in my formative years) is that many of them are driven by the attitude that it is a life and death struggle.  I’ve heard athletes say as much.  For most, the fear of losing or the desire to win is a key motivator in their successes.

Those guys aren’t Manny Ramirez.  For him, win or lose he’s fine.  As a result, Manny doesn’t press and he delivers in the clutch.  Manny knows it’s enough to just be Manny.   After all, being Manny is a full time job.

500 home runs later, you’ve got to admit he must be on to something.  Even if he is a goofball…

Rice Undercooked by Hall of Fame & Other Horrible Puns

9 Jan

Go to fullsize imageLet’s get this out of the way first.  Congratulations to you Goose Gossage.  Well deserved and long overdue.  As a Red Sox fan growing up in the 70s, I hated you more than the Ayatollah Khomieni.  However, unlike my hatred of Iran’s former leader, my dislike of you was based on respect and a healthy dose of fear.  I knew if the Sox hadn’t put the game out of reach before you got in, that there was a very good chance I was going to sleep unhappy that night. 

Go to fullsize image

I remember my many Yankee fan friends (in between relentless taunting) hating Jim Rice for much the same reasons as I hated the Goose.  For a good ten years, Jim Rice was the dominant hitter in the AL.  I could spout numbers all day long, but the reality is with most HOFers you know it simply by your memories of the threat they presented to you as an opponent or how they delivered for you if you were lucky enough to have them on your side.  It’s the dreaded “it factor”.  It’s the same in politics, acting (mainstream or porn), and blogging.  You either have it or you don’t.  Jim Rice had it.  He was feared by opponents and came through for the BoSox faithful.

With any luck, the steroids story will continue to spin out of control (PS – Roger Clemens, time for a new team of advisers) and expose how inflated offensive numbers  became in the 90s and beyond.  Rice looks better and better the more you realize how many people above him on career statistic lists cheated to get there.

Let’s put it this way.  Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa all dwarf Rice on the career home run list.  Minus steroids (and in Palmeiro’s case even WITH the steroids), do you take any of the three before Jim Rice at his prime if you were starting a team today? 

Answer:  Only if you are an idiot.  In which case, you’d have a HOF vote and undoubtedly use it to deny Jim Rice his place in Cooperstown.


Gossage, Rice & Morris are Hall of Fame Worthy

29 Dec

images1.jpgGoose Gossage, Jim Rice and Jack Morris need to go into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame right now!  I’m going to keep the explanations brief for tonight, but here’s my list on who is Hall Worthy, who is not and who I’m not sure about at this late hour:

images11.jpgWhy Aren’t These Guys in Already?images6.jpg

Goose Gossage – I grew up hating the New York Yankees and the Goose personally made the late 70s very tough for me.  He lasted longer and was better that Sutter or Fingers.

Jim Rice – Most feared hitter in the AL for a good long time even though his career was shorter than some would have liked.  Plus nobody hit into a double play like him (kidding Jim! Still love ya!).

Jack Morris – The ace of about a thousand World Series winners and so very clutch.  Sure his ERA is a bit high, but so is his win total which if memory serves led the majors in the 80s. 

Why Do We Talk About These Guys & The Hall at All?

Mark McGwire – I bought it all at the time.  The super human home run rate, the Paul Bunyan body and his grace toward the Maris Family.  Too bad it all seems to have been a sham.  He got his millions.  He shouldn’t get into the Hall of Fame, but remains a shoe in for the Hall of Fake.

Don Mattingly – Shoulda, woulda, coulda.  He ended up being a lot better than Darryl Strawberry who came up around the same time as him, but a back injury robbed him of his power.  It’s a sad thing but a fact that Donnie Baseball just didn’t put enough good years together to make the HOF cut.  And I don’t buy the Kirby Puckett comparisons, but that’s for another day. 

And Finally Some I Need To Think More About:

Andre Dawson – Never struck me a HOFer, but many disagree.  Love the cool Hawk nickname though.

Dave Parker – Coke will mess up your life and HOF chances.

Tim Raines – Should get some serious consideration.

Bert Blyleven – Never seemed like he was on the Seaver or Carlton level, but there are some strong numbers there and he’s oh so close to 300 wins despite playing on mostly bad teams.

Alan Trammel – Do not understand how this guy is so undervalued.  You have to compare his stats to other shortstops of his day.

Harold Baines – Where’s that one moment of greatness or super fantastic season?

Lee Smith – Saves are cheap.  Get Gossage in there first and then we’ll talk.