Monday, January 12, 2009
This lifelong Red Sox fan is elated that Jim Rice is - finally - heading to the Hall of Fame.
It's long bothered me that the Hall of Fame has had an all-but-announced set of benchmarks for Hall of Famers, i.e., 400 homers, 300 wins, this many stolen bases, and a batting average that high, etc., instead of honoring ballplayers who had long careers during which they were invaluable to the team(s) for which they played, and who also had periods of league-wide dominance. Like Jim Rice.
Here's what Rice did:
"He played his entire 16-year career in Boston, hit .298, collected 382 homers and 1,451 RBIs, led the American League in homers three times, made eight All-Star teams, won an MVP award and had a 12-year run (1975-86) in which he was considered the league's top hitter."
"Hall of Fame reliever Rich Gossage, who beat Rice to Cooperstown by one year, said, 'There's no hitter who scared me, but Jim Rice came the closest. He had tremendous power, but yet he was an excellent hitter who could hit to the opposite field or go up the middle. Most power hitters have holes. Jim Rice had no big holes.'"
That said, the 1980 Topps baseball card you see on this post was one of my favorites when I was growing up. When I was 11 or 12-years old, my next door neighbor gave me all of his baseball cards (he was older than me and was more interested in girls than baseball cards at the time). The card collection he gave me was a who's who of all the best players from the late 70s and 80s.
Included in the collection of cards I got from my neighbor were eight 1980 Topps Jim Rice cards. A lot of my card-collecting friends coveted those 1980 Jim Rice cards --it was a cool-lookin' card, after all -- and I used six of those cards to make some pretty good trades. To this day, though, I still have the remaining two. And while I might give up one for the, ahem, right price, the other will remain in Joltin' Django's roll-and-stock until ... well, for a long ****in' time!