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James Edward Rice
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 205 lb.
- High School T. L. Hanna High School, Westside High School (Anderson)
- Debut August 19, 1974
- Final Game August 3, 1989
- Born March 8, 1953 in Anderson, SC USA
Jim Rice played 16 seasons in the major leagues, all of them with the Boston Red Sox, hit 382 home runs, accumulated 1451 RBI and had a career batting average of .298. Rice had also won the American League MVP Award in 1978, and was elected as a member of Baseball's Hall of Fame in 2009 after appearing on the BBWAA ballot for his 15th and final appearance on it. At that time he received 76.4% of the votes cast where 75% of the votes are needed for a player's induction. Jim Rice became the 4th player elected to the Hall of Fame in what would have been his final appearance on the BBWAA ballot, joining Red Ruffing (1967 runoff), Joe Medwick (1968) and Ralph Kiner (1975).
Jim Rice was named the 1974 Minor League Player of the Year after he became the International League Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and Triple Crown winner when he played for the Pawtucket Red Sox. That year, Rice hit .337 with 25 homers and 93 RBI, edging Gary Carter of Memphis by 2 homers. Rice also led the league in slugging (.579), as he was the only player to top .500. In 2008 he was elected to the International League Hall of Fame. He was generally called "Jim Ed Rice" in the minors.
Major League career
After making his major league debut late in the 1974 season, in 1975 Rice was third in the balloting for MVP and runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors in the American League behind Boston Red Sox teammate Fred Lynn. Unfortunately, Rice missed the classic 1975 World Series, having suffered a broken bone in his hand when he was hit by a Vern Ruhle pitch in late September.
Rice won his first American League home run title in 1977, when he belted 39 round-trippers. In 1978 Rice was the AL MVP. He was one of the only players of that era with 400 total bases in a season. His 46 home runs that year were the highest total in the AL between 1970 and 1987. He led the league in homers again in 1983, with a total of 39. After finishing 3rd in the MVP voting in 1986, Rice's team was able to return to play in the memorable 1986 World Series where Rice batted .333. Over his career Rice was among the top 5 yearly leaders 69 times in various batting categories, and he finished as the leader 21 times in 13 of these offensive categories. In 1987, Rice began to lose his power and his performance declined quickly. He retired from baseball in 1989 after playing his entire career for the Red Sox.
There were however a few chinks in his armor, which delayed his election to the Hall of Fame: his decline came early and was very quick, preventing him from gathering huge career numbers; his defense was always suspect, and he spent a lot of time as a designated hitter to keep him away from the field; he drew relatively few walks; and year after year, he was among the AL leaders for grounded into double plays, something which significantly reduced his offensive value.
After his MLB playing career
In 1989, Rice played for the St. Petersburg Pelicans of the Senior Professional Baseball Association. In 1990, he again was with St. Petersburg. He was batting .292 with 3 home runs and 7 RBI in 15 games when the league folded.
Rice has served as a Roving Batting Coach (1992-1994) and Hitting Instructor (1995-2000), and remains an Instructional Batting Coach (2001-present) with the Boston Red Sox organization. He is employed as a commentator for the New England Sports Network (NESN). In 1995, he was chosen as a member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame, and in 2001, he was elected to Ted Williams' Hitters Hall of Fame. On January 12, 2009 Jim was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame after gathering 76.4% of the vote and became the 21st left fielder ever inducted. Rice became just the third player to be bypassed by voters for 14 years before squeezing in by a slim margin on his final try; the previous two such picks were Jim Bunning and Ralph Kiner.
Rice was named to the All-Star team 8 times during his 16 year career, and he was in the top 5 for the MVP award six times. Aside from Rice's notable achievements (listed below) he also led the league in GIDPs 4 years in a row, and Strikeouts once (1976). He was in the top ten in SLG 8 times, BA 6 times, Hits & Home Runs 7 times, RBI's & Total Bases 9 times, and in OBP twice. His highest seasonal Adjusted OPS (OPS+) was 158, he also had a 148 and a 141.
Through 2006, he is amongst the top 100 all-time batters when it comes to Slugging Pct., Hits, Total Bases, Home Runs, Runs Batted In, Runs Created, Extra Base Hits, Grand Slams and Strikeouts. Rice is also among the top 50 batters in MVP Shares, Grounding into Double Plays, and hitting Sacrifice Flies. The most similar player to Rice, according to the similarity scores method, is Orlando Cepeda, followed by Andres Galarraga, Ellis Burks, Duke Snider, Joe Carter, Dave Parker, Billy Williams, Luis Gonzalez, Willie Stargell, and Chili Davis.
Rice was also the highest-paid player in baseball for two seasons, which indicates the value that was placed on him at that time. The league's individual average for OPS was .742 during the era that Rice played. Rice's career OPS was .854. Aside from that, Rice's career Batting Average of .298 is higher than the league average of .270. Also, his Lifetime Slugging Pct. of .502 is much higher than the league's .406. His career 128 Adjusted OPS+ compares well to that of his left field predecessor, Carl Yastrzemski who had a career mark of 130. It should be noted when comparing their careers, Yastrzemski had 4,933 more plate appearances and 966 more hits while playing in 7 more seasons than Rice.
- 1974 Minor League Player of the Year, Pawtucket Red Sox, International League
- 1974 MVP International League, Pawtucket Red Sox
- 1975 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- 8-time AL All-Star (1977-1980 & 1983-1986)
- AL MVP (1978)
- 2-time AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1983 & 1984)
- 2-time AL Slugging Percentage Leader (1977 & 1978)
- AL OPS Leader (1978)
- 2-time AL At Bats Leader (1978 & 1981)
- AL Hits Leader (1978)
- 4-time AL Total Bases Leader (1977-1979 & 1983)
- AL Triples Leader (1978)
- 3-time AL Home Run Leader (1977, 1978 & 1983)
- 2-time AL RBI Leader (1978 & 1983)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 11 (1975-1980 & 1982-1986)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 4 (1977-1979 & 1983)
- 40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1978)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 8 (1975, 1977-1979 & 1983-1986)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (1977-1979)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 4 (1977-1979 & 1986)
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 2009
|Rod Carew||Jim Rice||Don Baylor|
- Grounded into double play, season, 36, 1984; he also has the second highest total ever, with 35 in 1985.
- Only player to have 200+ hits and 35 or more Home Runs for 3 consecutive seasons, 1977-1979
- Only player ever to lead his league, and Major League Baseball in triples, home runs, and RBIs in the same season, 1978
- Tied with Ty Cobb as being the only American Leaguers to ever have 3 consecutive Total Bases titles, 1977-1979
- Tied with Mickey Mantle (1955) as being the only American Leaguers to ever lead the league in both triples and home runs in the same season, 1978
- Tied with Ernie Lombardi for the most times leading the league in Grounding into Double plays (4)
- Most BBWAA Hall of Fame votes received by any MLB player ever voted upon (3974 votes)
- Alexander Edelman: "Jim Rice", in Bill Nowlin and Cecilia Tan, ed.: '75:The Red Sox Team that Saved Baseball, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 52-55. ISBN 978-1-933599-97-7
- Alexander Edelman: "Jim Rice", in Bill Nowlin and Leslie Heaphy, ed.: The 1986 Boston Red Sox: There Was More Than Game 6, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2016. pp. 145-148. ISBN 978-1-943816-19-4
- Chad Thornburg: "Rice excelled during HOF career with Red Sox", mlb.com, February 6, 2018.