Jim Rice Heads to Hall of Fame: Voters Finally Got It Right

Scott GollContributor IJanuary 12, 2009

You'll be hard-pressed to find a Yankee fan willing to say positive things about the Red Sox. Any Red Sox. Present or past. That's just the way it is.

And yet, Jim Rice being voted into the Hall of Fame today has finally corrected a long-standing injustice. There, I said it.

In an era of baseball with inflated offense and poor pitching, we've become too accustomed to the idea that any player with fewer than 500 homers, RBI totals not exceeding 140 per season, a lifetime average below .320, or fewer than 3,000 hits simply isn't a Hall of Famer.

To those not old enough to remember what a great player Jim Rice was, or what statistical achievements from his era of baseball meant, it's too bad his entry into the Hall is being nay-sayed.

The fact of the matter is that Rice was one of the most feared, most consistent hitters of his time. His career numbers (382 HR, 2452 hits, 1451 RBI, lifetime .298 hitter) would be considered nice if he were part of the current regime of offensive players, but in the pitching-rich 1970s and 80s, his numbers were superb.

Rice's reputation as a player was not one of being particularly media friendly, which may have harmed his chances of entry as the years passed. More recent candidates rose to the forefront with lofty 90s and 2000-era offensive outputs on their resumes.

I applaud those who recognized Rice's contributions and his place in the game. Whether you loved him or hated him, he was one of the best there was, and for that his place in history is now finally secured as it should be—with enshrinement in Cooperstown.