This year’s Hall of Fame ballot was announced yesterday. Hopefully, the baseball writers will see fit to vote three players into the Hall this year: Rickey Henderson, Jack Morris and Jim Rice.
The case for Henderson is clear: He is the greatest lead-off hitter and base-stealer in the history of the game (or, at least, pre-Ichiro). Don’t believe me? Just ask Rickey. He’ll tell you how great he is. Meanwhile, Jack Morris was one of the most dominant pitchers of his era, not to mention one of the great big-game pitchers ever. He anchored championship teams in Detroit, Minnesota and Toronto. That’s a heck of a resume.
The case for Jim Rice has been made time and time again. Still, some baseball writers remain unconvinced. Last year, Rice finished a mere 16 votes shy of inclusion, which all but ensures he’ll eventually be inducted into the Hall by the Veteran’s Committee. Hopefully hesitant baseball writers will accept the inevitability of Rice’s inclusion and allow him to enjoy his induction in 2009. For those who still need some convincing, here, once again, are the facts:
From 1975 to 1985, Rice led the American League in home runs, RBIs, runs scored, slugging and extra base hits. (Aside from home runs, the only one CLOSE to him in any of those categories was Hall of Famer George Brett.) Rice spearheaded the Red Sox to three seasons – 1975, 1978, 1986 – that are among the greatest in the storied history of the franchise. Rice’s historic MVP season in 1978 was one of the great offensive displays in baseball history (prior to the steroid era). In all, over the course of his career Jim Rice received more MVP votes than any eligible player in baseball history who is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.