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Cooperstown Calls For Henderson, Rice

As expected Rickey Henderson sailed into the Hall of Fame today with 511 votes (94.8 percent), while Jim Rice squeaked in (412 votes, 76.4 percent) in his 15th and final year of eligibility on the writers' ballot. Just missing out: Andre Dawson (361 votes, 67.0 percent) and Bert Blyleven (338, 62.7 percent).

Thoughts everyone?

UPDATE: Here's Henderson on his election to the Hall of Fame:

*(Thoughts?) "It's been a long time coming." (ED. NOTE: What? Try telling that to Jim Rice.) "I was relieved, happy this moment has come."

*(What proudest of?) "I think it's the runs-scored record... I used the stolen bases and the walks to try to come across the plate, to score some runs and try to give my team an opportunity to win."

*(On teammate Mark McGwire) "Mark McGwire is one of the best [people] I've ever been around. He played the game the right way to me... I feel he deserves be in in the Hall of Fame because of his numbers and what he did for baseball."

SECOND UPDATE: Quotes from Rice

*(Why did it take so long?) "If you look at my numbers [against] some of the numbers of guys who are in the Hall of Fame -- my numbers are compatible. I don't know why. The only thing I'll say is I'm glad it's over with. I'm not going to badmouth any writers or what have you. I'm just looking forward to the days to come.... My numbers have not changed over the last 14 years."

*(What he learned from the wait) "Be patient and wait until the last out."

By Dave Sheinin  |  January 12, 2009; 2:11 PM ET
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Next: Tuesday Triple Play: M. Young, Rice, HOF '10


Finally Big Jim is in. Here in Boston,when Rice walked up to the plate, it was almost like Manny walking up most recently.
He was our rock for well over a decade. And he drove in more runs than any player during a 12 year period 75-86....averaging about 120 runs/game and he did it without steroids.
Good for him!

Posted by: sarees1 | January 12, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Rickey is one of the best offensive players of all time. Fast, powerful, and on base 40% of the time he got to the plate. A truly great player. Rice was very lucky he played in Fenway park

Posted by: CharlieF | January 12, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Bert Blyleven deserves to be in. If he played with more talented teammates he would have had significantly more wins and would already been voted in easily given his strikeout totals and other stats.

Posted by: reglsg | January 12, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

ok, I grew up in Boston. Parents had a browstone on Comm Ave. Not far from Kenmore Sq. and Fenway. Saw my first football game. At Fenway. Pats Bills. Bills won. In the snow. I got the ball!

For me Jim Rice does NOT belong in the hall of fame. No way. No how. Compare to Manny? That's funny.

Posted by: stoneycurtis | January 12, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Well Stoney...Manny is a first ballot lock. Rice might be borderline, but he is IN!

Posted by: sarees1 | January 12, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Really is a shame that a player like Mr. Henderson should share the spotlight with "other rans".
Rickey is the beat lead-off man of all time...the others choosen are nowhere as good in their respective positions...

Posted by: kase | January 12, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Rickey was a monster shoo-in for The Hall. The steals, the first-at-bat homers, the longevity. He may have acted a touch eccentric...okay, more than "a touch." But if he decided to steal, there was very little the opposition could do about it. And his comment supporting McGwire is pure class. Big Jim Rice belongs in there, too. The writers did the right thing voting him in, and it's about time.

Posted by: Idahopov | January 12, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Rice has been a Hall of Famer for years. The voters just took a little longer than they should have to figure it out.

Posted by: Attucks | January 12, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I imagine Rickey is the saddest that Rickey has to share the spotlight with anyone, ever. Today "he is the greatest!"

He is entirely deserving. So is Rice, although the case is not as clear cut. Unlike Manny, at least Jim Ed gave it his all every day he was in the lineup. It's too bad his skills gave out in his mid-30s, but when he was able to do his job, he did it as well as anyone at the time.

Posted by: ah___ | January 12, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to the HOF class of 2009.I only wish that Jack Morris would be considered. He was the winningest pitcher of his era. I also would hope that Rickey Henderson would show a little bit of humility during the induction ceremony this summer.

Posted by: johnstrack1 | January 12, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Imagine the numbers Ricky Henderson might have collected had he batted left handed. One who can throw left handed that hard must also be a natural left handed batter.

Posted by: joernil | January 12, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

It is true Rice was the most feared hitter in the league in his absolute prime.

Kind of an important aside is that he is the first African American HOF player who played most (actually all) of his career for the Red Sox. They were the last team to integrate. It's been said that there really was no Curse of the Bambino - that the actual "curse" was their rejection of African American ballplayers until the Reggie Smith / George Scott / Joe Foy group that came up in '66 and '67. Right about the time the Red Sox took off. I forget which superstar had a tryout with the Sox - I think Willie Mays - where, allegedly, the old owner said, "Get that [N-word] out of here." I don't have much sympathy for Tom Yawkey.

With respect to Rice, if any of you have read "Common Ground," a Pulitzer-winning book about school integration in Boston in the 1970s (and also a lousy, stereotype filled TV movie), there is a chapter focusing on the Boston Globe in it. The editorial page took a strong stand in favor of the Court's desegregation order. At the time,the Globe was not quite so dominant in the city that you could not avoid it, so the opponents of the busing aspects of the order tried to organize a boycott of the Globe in protest. Well, they tried this in the summer of '75, which also was Jim Rice's and Fred Lynn's rookie year and the Red Sox were front runners for the AL East that season. The Globe had the far and away the better sports writers at the time - Gammons and Whiteside on the Red Sox beat, plus Will McDonough, Ray Fitzgerald, Leigh Montville, etc... The town was so crazy about Lynn, Rice, and the team that most of boycotting men cheated and still picked up the Globe for the sports. So, Rice had a bit of a hand in addressing a larger curse than anything the Babe put on anyone.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 12, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Really is a shame that a player like Mr. Henderson should share the spotlight with "other rans
really? maybe the policy should be revised then so that just one person gets in a year. that way, no spotlight sharing.
btw, it's 'chosen', not "choosen". couldn't help myself.

Posted by: frieda406 | January 12, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

HOF is for the GREAT not just the VERY GOOD. Take Rice out of a Fenway and he was a pretty pedistrian stick (.277 career hitter on the Road) in a great lineup plus he was slow and killed many a inning hitting into double plays. He also got released at the age of 34. Congratulations to Rice but the HOF just got watered down a bit.

Posted by: maxlibbee | January 12, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

My favorite Rickey Henderson moment: breaking the all-time stolen base record...the same day Nolan Ryan pitched his seventh no hitter. Front page headlines next day? Ryan. Just another example of class over a$$.

Posted by: tripz | January 12, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Blyleven absolutely belongs in. His win total is in the 270's, and he's got over 3700 strikeouts.

Don't know about Rice, I've heard it both ways for years.

Rickey. The best lead-off hitter I'll ever see (if not the best ever). He'd draw a walk, steal second, steal third, Dave Henderson would hit a sac fly. With the pitching staff in Oakland, the game was very often already over. Amazing.
Got to see him make two errors in one game at old stadium in Baltimore, everyone jeering "Rick-ey, Rick-ey". That was fun (which was unusual for the opposition).

Posted by: bflorhodes | January 13, 2009 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know the last time someone led the league in Hits, OPS, HR's, RBI's AND Triples???

Posted by: Krazijoe | January 13, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Krazijoe--I'm guessing from the context Rice in 1978.

Posted by: ah___ | January 13, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"ok, I grew up in Boston. Parents had a browstone on Comm Ave. Not far from Kenmore Sq. and Fenway. Saw my first football game. At Fenway. Pats Bills. Bills won. In the snow. I got the ball!

For me Jim Rice does NOT belong in the hall of fame. No way. No how. Compare to Manny? That's funny."

I think you should have spent more time at Fenway for Sox games. Jim Rice was one of the most feared hitters in MLB when he was playing and one of the strongest (non juiced) athletes in the sport.

Rice not only belongs in the HOF, he should have been in YEARS ago.

Posted by: caphcky | January 13, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Jim Rice is similar to the Redskin wide reciever that got into the football HOF...Monk, I think his name was.

Both had borderline numbers but were well-loved by their local fans.

To me, it is the boderline players who do NOT get in that defines just how great the HOF players are.

Posted by: T_J_Murphy | January 16, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

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