Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hall of Fame Thursday - Jim Rice - Poll Question

1975 Topps #616 Rookie Outfielders Jim Rice and others

Is Jim Rice a Hall of Famer? Register your opinion on the poll at the right. Also comment here if desired.

Jim Rice was selected as the other member of the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame class. While last weeks HOF Thursday featured player, Rickey Henderson, basically couldn't be argued against (unless you're one of the 29 writers who didn't select him as a first ballot Hall of Famer) This weeks player, Jim Rice, is more debatable. The Baseball Press has debated Rice's credentials for years now, as have baseball card bloggers. Sore For, Some Against.

I am curious as to what other bloggers think.
You may have noticed that today I have added the first Phungo Poll Question. Simply put, I would like to know if you think Jim Rice is a Hall of Famer or not. Of course this is very unscientific. If you love Jim Rice and want to vote 30 times, that will skew the results. If you think this is a travesty you may vote against Rice 30 times. Personally, I would prefer that you vote only once and use all those extra clicks to scroll through all the fine articles we have for you to read here at Phungo.

I honestly can't recall much of Rice's career. I perhaps saw him in a few games on CBS game of the week as a kid. I knew Rice was a helluva a power hitter and I grouped him in with George Foster. Power hitting outfielder on a good team. Beyond that I would have to look at the stats. For that I will turn to Baseball-Reference.

Jim Rice spent all 16 years of his Major League career with the Boston Red Sox. He played from 1974 through 1989 and was a member of the ill-fated 1986 World Series team that lost to the Mets. During his career he amassed 2452 Hits, 382 of which were Homers (ranks 55th all time), and 1451 RBI (56th). He was an eight time all-star, won and MVP (1978) and finished in the top 5 six times. Rice was primarily a left fielder and designated hitter, who won two silver slugger awards and finished 2nd to fellow Red Sox outfielder Fred Lynn for the Rookie of the Year award in 1975 (Lynn also won the MVP award in 75)

All very good numbers a few more hits, 20 more Homers and a World Championship would all make a big difference. Now lets take a deeper look inside the Baseball-Reference toybox.

Below the players leaderboard there are a series of items regarding a players Hall of Fame credentials. There are four basic categories Blank Ink (Leading League in certain Statistical categories), Grey Ink (among the top 10 in the same statistical categories), HOF Standards and HOF Monitor - these latter two categories have various points awarded based on many statistical criteria. For the Standards 50 is the average Hall of Famer, with 100 being the basic maximum (Babe Ruth is #1 with a 78). For the Monitor 100 is the meter for a likely HOF member and 130+ is considred a lock.

How does Jim Rice stack up.

Black Ink
- 33, (ranks 49th all time) the average HOF member is a 27, Babe Ruth 161 (1st) , A-Rod 68 (13th), Wade Boggs 37 (39th), Joe DiMaggio 34 (46th), Griffey Jr 26 (72nd)

Grey Ink - 176, (57th) average HOF 144. Hank Aaron 408 (2nd), Frank Thomas 200 (40th) Reggie Jackson 175 (58th), Junior 162 (69th)

HOF Standards
- 43 (108th) - average HOF 50, Babe Ruth 78 (1st) , Jeff Kent, Vlad, Helton 50 (72nd), Wille Stargell 43 (108th)

HOF Monitor
- 144.5 (89th) - likely HOF 100, lock HOF 130+ Stan Musial 454 (1st), Piazza 205 (39th), Chipper 162 (68th), Brooks Robinson 137 (93rd), Robin Yount 132 (102nd)
Rice is above the HOF average in three of the four categories and just a tick below in the HOF standards category. He is well up on the HOF Monitor list. The only player above him that is eligible for the Hall of Fame, that is not a member is Mark McGwire (169, 62nd). Below him you have to go all the way down to the 98th position and Don Mattingly (133).

One other item B-R gives us is Similar Batters. Rice's Top Ten includes four Hall of Famers (Orlando Cepeda, Duke Snider, Billy Williams, Willie Stargell). The six non-HOFs are not nearly as formidible, although one could make a case for Dave Parker who is never discussed as a Hall of Fame player.

Finally off the field Rice was certainly never considered a reporters best friend. This probably worked against Rice during the voting process. The irony is that now Rice has found himself as a member of the Media as a Red Sox analyst on NESN. Rice is also known for an incident in 1982, when his quick thinking actions may have saved the life a child struck by a foul ball at Fenway Park.

Given the totals present above, I consider Rice a Hall of Famer. I am curious to the opinions of Phungo readers. I will leave the poll open till next week and we will check the results.

The 1975 Card above is the Jim Rice rookie card. Now that Rice has made it into the Hall, it is likely one of the earliest rookie cards in the Phungo collection. It's off-center and has really soft corners, but you know what, it survived the transfer from my early collection to my current collection and that sure makes it special.

1 comment:

night owl said...

I have yet to hear from someone who was around for the entirety of Rice's career say he does not belong in the Hall of Fame. It seems that those who say he doesn't belong in the Hall are those who weren't around when he played or were only around in his later stages.

The game was much different during Rice's time than it is now or even when it was in the late mid-to-late '80s and '90s. Rice's numbers appear not worthy when you're used to what we have these days, but I'm telling you, he was considered a tremendous player when he was around. One of the elite. Rice packed a lot into a relatively short career.

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