After 15 years on the ballot, Red Sox left-fielder Jim Rice was finally sent to Cooperstown to take his rightful place among baseball's greatest. This was Jim Rice's last year of Hall of Fame eligibility, and he barely made it in, registering 76.4% of the vote, only 7 votes above the required 75%.
Rice was an 8 time All-Star, starting 4 times. He won the MVP in 1978, and came close to winning the award in several other seasons, most notably in 1975 when teammate Fred Lynn edged Rice for both MVP and Rookie of the Year.
Rice's numbers don't astound contemporary baseball fan. 382 career homeruns, a .298 average, and 1,451 RBIs pale in comparison to some of the stats hitters have put up since the 1990s.
Jim Edmonds also has 382 homeruns. 1,451 RBIs is 56th all-time, and Rice's .502 slugging percentage is 89th.
But when Rice played, he was one of the most feared hitters in the American League. He had 8 seasons of 100+ RBI, and four seasons over 120.
Rice is one of those borderline Hall of Famers, as indicated by his tenure on the ballot and the slim margin with which he was inducted. But he is a Hall of Famer. He joins the presitigious club of Hall of Fame left-fielders who wore a Red Sox uniform. Ted Williams. Carl Yastrzemski. And now Jim Rice.