It's About Time Jim Rice Gets To Put HOF After His Name

Nick VennochiContributor IJanuary 13, 2009

When you look at the numbers, they don't exactly jump off the page and scream "Hall of Famer," but at a second glance, you notice greatness.

Jim Rice followed the great list of left fielders before him when he was called up in 1974. Carl Yastrzemski and Ted Williams are arguably two of the best to put on the uniform, but during his 16 seasons, Jim Rice watched the big green wall in left  honorably.

But once he was on the ballot, the debate was on; should Jim Rice be a "hall of famer" or not?

In his case, the stats saved him as well as hurt him. When you hear a .298 career average, 382 HRs, 2,452 hits, and 1,451 RBI, you think solid player but maybe not a Hall of Fame candidate.

But when compared to the time period  that he played in, he was one of the best to strap them up and that in its self deserves the Major League baseball Hall of Fame nod.

In the era of 'roids, 30 HRs doesn't sound like much, but in the early '70s and '80s, Rice put up gaudy numbers.

During his 12 great seasons for the Boston Red Sox, he was MVP once in 1978 and in the top-five five other times. He also had over 100 RBI eight times, 20 HRs 11 times, and four 200-hit seasons. 

When looking at a player like Jim Rice, it is important to look through the lens of his time, and not at what the players of the '90s put up. The eight-time all-star was one of his generation's greats and deserved to be enshrined along with the all-time greats.

From 1975-1986, Rice lead the AL in 12 categories including: HRs, runs, hits, RBI, slugging percentage, and total bases.

He played during a great time for the game, and because he didn't hit 400 HRs or have 3,000 hits he was almost forgotten.

Congrats, Jim, on a well-deserved honor.