Categories Awards/HOF General Red Sox Rickey, Rice in the Hall Post author By SF Post date January 12, 2009 36 Comments on Rickey, Rice in the Hall Jim Ed makes it. Congrats to him. He deserves it. Or doesn't. Or something. Colonial bacon for everyone! ← What, no Karl Rove Dunk Tank? → Jay Bell’s Mom and Dad are Members of the BBWA? 36 replies on “Rickey, Rice in the Hall” I gotta admit, I got a little misty with the news. Congrats, Jim Ed. Wonder what the white folks in Anderson, S.C., as thinking now? Now let’s get Andre Dawson in. And Lee Smith. Still on the bubble but leaning yes on Blyleven. Next year we need the Rock and Bert. Ugh. At least this means Donnie Baseball has a place now. And Dave Parker, and Harold Baines, and Will Clark, and Dale Murphy, and … Maybe if the de facto historian of the New York Yankees started sending HoF voters a memo every year about why Bernie, Mattingly, and O’Neill are HoF-ers, they can get in. Easy, there Rob. The man is in. Please be gracious. Good call, Andrew. Bernie and O’Neill are surely next. The Yankees should hire someone for this sole purpose or maybe they can hire Corky Simpson with a small guaranteed contract but lots of incentives if he gets those guys in? Bill – It took 15 years. And 15 years in which he didn’t have another AB. That says everything about what happened in the intervening years. In this day and age, voters should be smarter. Unfortunately, they’re clearly not. Not when Raines gets just over 20%. Well, er, actually O’Neill isn’t next, he never even received 5% of the vote. Damn, right. Corky get to work on Bernie and Donnie! They’re not Hall of Famers, but if you think so, then any writer can! And don’t forget about Matt Williams! No, I’m not Rob Neyer. But he’s angry too: For Raines, all hope should not be lost. In Jim Rice’s first of eligibility for the Hall, he received just 30 percent of the vote. And the great thing about Raines’ candidacy is that nobody has to make up a bunch of stuff. So, we’ll get Mattingly in? Can somebody please explain to me how it is possible that a total of 28 writers left Rickey Henderson off their ballots? All that anti-Red Sox bias not so covertly wrapped up in some sort of pseudo-guardianship over the Hall of Fame’s standards, as if those standards were first violated this afternoon. Please. As I said before I have no horse in this race, I would have lost no sleep over Rice not making the Hall, but you guys seem to be fooling yourselves into believing your concerns are about much other than Jim Rice having played for the Sox. On the heels of the unfair accusations hurled at Paul this weekend this is pretty timely. —————– Now, more seriously, see how these accusations work? They aren’t really fair – you guys make salient points about Rice’s candidacy or lack thereof, as do many people not Yankee fans, and in the end it is probably not about the Yankees. But if I leveled that above charge aggressively wouldn’t there be (legitimate) pushback? By the way, Peter Abraham (over at LoHud) has a good quote from Ron Guidry concerning whether he should be in the Hall: “Of course he should be,” Guidry said. “Guy scared the crap out of every pitcher in the league.” Yes, and those 15 years were essentially what was the Steroid Era. And there were many pre-Steroid Era HOFers whose stats do not measure up to Sosa, McGwire, Giambi, etc. You can show some grace, too, Andrew. Please. If you’re referring to Dick Bresciani, here’s what he did, accoring to the Boston Globe: “Bresciani emphasized that Rice led all AL in homers and RBIs during his 16-year career, and that the only retired players with both a career average and a home run total as high as Rice’s were Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth, and Williams — all baseball legends, all of whom are in Cooperstown.” He merely put Rice’s stats into historical perspective. And I believe he did so knowing that the stats had become skewed as a result of the Steroid Era. He did not include Jim Rice T-shirts and Rice-A-Roni boxes with Rice’s face superimposed on the front, a-la the Heisman media blitzes. I do believe that a good case could be made for O’Neill (whom I loved to watch from his rookie year in Cincy on), Mattingly and Bernie. But to suggest that these guys were on par with Rice is a bit of a stretch. And I wonder if any of you Rice critics actually saw him play more than the last three years of his career, when he was hampered by an undiagnosed vision problem. Is the yoke on Mattingly’s neck essentially that he never played for a WS champ? > 28 writers left Rickey Henderson off their ballots That is unbelievable. 28 writers should be looking for a new job. I have to chirp in that I don’t really mind that he made it, but that I don’t think “fear” should be considered. Is Gary Shef a HoFer? I don’t think so, by any shot, and while Manny is probably more feared, per se, you can make the case that Shef was close for many years. Then there are steroids, etc. Ah well. I do think that he might belong in a “Sox Hall of Fame”, but probably not the national one. But then I’m a Yanks fan where they retire many numbers, so go figure.. haha.. I don’t think Jim Rice belongs in the Hall of Fame – I think he joins the “good but not quite good enough” portion of the Hall – but as a Red Sox fan, even one who grew up too late to have seen him in his prime, I can’t really find it in me to be too unhappy that he got in. So congrats, Jim Ed. As for the 28 people who didn’t vote for Rickey Henderson… let’s have some names. One of the good things about the whole internet era is the public shaming that people who submit stupid ballots get every year, and I want that to continue full force. We can’t take away their ballots, sadly, but we can make them pay the price for their stupidity. It’s not a stretch at all to say that Bernie, for one, was on par with Rice. Bernie’s careers OPS+ is 125; Rice’s is 128. This is in a virtually identical number of plate appearances. When you factor in positional value, Bernie is clearly at least as valuable as Rice. If you look at EqA, Bernie is clearly much BETTER than Rice–on offense alone. Rice has a .293 all-time adjusted EqA. Bernie’s is 300. This, plus defensive value, is also reflected in WARP3 totals (106.3 Bernie, 80.3 Rice.) It’s amazing how underrated Bernie is, even among YFs and statistically savvy fans. If I were to make a HoF case for Bernie, I would certainly include a comparison to Rice. (Just for fun: Mattingly has a .300 EqA and 84.3 WARP3 total. O’Neil has a .294 EqA and 100.2 WARP3 total. Somehow it’s a “stretch” to say these guys are comparable with Rice?) Oh, and I forgot to add that WARP3 says that Bernie has THREE seasons better than Rice’s very best season. I’m not saying WARP3 is definitive, but there is a sound argument to made that Bernie was the better player. Anyone want to make the reverse argument–rather than just taking it on faith and memory? And Bernie have rings! Heh. And was pretty good defensively before he lost some steps. But ya, the way he carried the team in the playoffs in those years, at least in the ALDS/CS.. it was awesome. Maybe he’s underrated, since I don’t really consider him a HoFer. And different eras, etc, though the “+” part of OPS+ supposed to take that into account of sorts.. “28 writers left Rickey Henderson off their ballots That is unbelievable. 28 writers should be looking for a new job.” It’s unbelievable, ridiculous, stupid, you name it. Damn, Bernie is looking better and better as days go by. There is certainly an argument to be made (as “YF and Bernie Fan” has clearly already done) that he is a better HoF choice than Rice. Of course, that’s not saying much. But the “out of the question” status I put on Bernie suddenly looks a bit too harsh. Jim Rice recieved 412 hall of fame votes, and that’s 412 more votes than are available from YFSF posters. The voters have spoken. Jim Rice is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. (Throwing Bernie Williams out there as a means to denegrate Jim Rice only serves to insult Bernie. He was a fine player and will receive due consideration. He clearly was among the better players of his era. What time must determine is how much better he was than the average player.) The argument is done. So not only do you not have a dog in the fight, you don’t have a fight. Jim Rice was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today. Quit crapping on his parade. Graciousness should be the order of the moment, not juvenile pissiness. I am embarrassed for those of you – none of whom has a BBWAA vote – who fail to rise above the fray at the appropriate moment. So because we don’t have a BBWAA vote, we don’t get to have an opinion, or ours simply are *wrong*? Oh, the most glorious of the BBWAA, 48 of whom quite clearly are worse voters than the vast majority of the baseball-watching public, are above reproach, only because YOU agree with their selection? That, I believe, is the most juvenile attitude displayed in this thread. Jim Rice, like several others in the Hall, doesn’t deserve to be there. His selection (especially over Blyleven or Raines) further deludes the quality of what is quickly becoming a punchline, rather than a respected organization. 48 is 28. Heh, wow, nice to see the YFs over the course of one weekend completely denigrate themselves in the last 10 or so posts that have appeared on this Web site. I would vote for Bernie Williams for the Hall, so I guess I fail to see how it’s an insult to compare him to Rice. I’d also vote for Sheffield. I guess I have a question for Rob and Andrew: What did Jim Rice ever do to you to earn the venom you have displayed here? Given your clearly high standards for the Hall of Fame, I’m sure you were equally outraged at the inclusion of Tony Perez — and of course Phil Rizzutto and Joe Gordon. And Rob Neyer needs to chill. By all accounts, he’s a nice person, just as I’m sure the people posting in this thread are. So maybe we should all step back and reassess why the inclusion of a very good ballplayer none of us has met in the Hall of Fame turns so many people into such venomous, bitter scolds. What did Jim Rice ever do to you to earn the venom you have displayed here? Now it’s about the messengers rather than the message? Ask Rob Neyer the same question (who will have a vote when today’s players are eligible). Or ask Joe Sheehan (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=1150). Or ask Bill James – Sox employee. Simply, it’s an affront to reason that he was inducted (after 15 years) while someone like Tim Raines gets 20% of the vote. Anyone who appreciates what stats mean, especially in the history of the game, also appreciates the weakness of his case. Rice is a perfect example of people twisting stats to suit whatever preconceived notion they started with. Those who let the numbers simply lie where they’re found realized long ago he wasn’t a Hall of Famer. My last words on the topic: When someone like Jim Rice gets in, it’s further proof that there’s something wrong with the process. Change any of the most relevant standards – 15 years and 75% to 10 years and 80% – and he never comes close. We need cases like Rice to improve what is broken. Vote totals shouldn’t take 15 years to go up. If anything, between the grace period and five to ten years should be plenty of time for the writers most attuned to a player’s career to make a proper evaluation. It’s telling that those writers never felt Rice deserved any more than 60% of the vote (and only 30% a few years after he retired). Every time a player gets elected that isn’t deserving, we need to have this conversation. The hope is that one day it won’t be necessary. Today isn’t that day. “Heh, wow, nice to see the YFs over the course of one weekend completely denigrate themselves in the last 10 or so posts that have appeared on this Web site.” I dont understand how a comment like this is any different than the comments you are decrying yourself. Ive read through this post and I dont see any YFs “denigrating” themselves but most simply having a spirited debate about why they disagree with you. Sure, the language is a bit testy at times but what you have written is just as strong. I personally dont believe Rice is in HOF’er, nor Bernie for that matter. Am I denigrating myself with such an opinion? what is broken When someone can articulately spell out what, exactly, is “broken” then this conversation will serve some greater purpose. But nobody can define, lucidly, the parameters by which someone is judged to deserve enshrinement – the Hall as far as I can tell doesn’t even do this. We can go back to the pornography discussion and apply it to greatness, I suppose. And that leaves a LOT of room, so much so that arguing that something is “broken” seems like a dead-end. The Hall enshrines, by a fan’s definition, those who are supposedly “great”, but the standards by which we define greatness are ever-shifting, whether statistically or contextually. Had Rice played in an era where OBP was valued like it has been the last decade+ would his counting stats be that much more impressive? Would he have had more players to knock in? (Seriously – Remy and Burleson hit in front of Rice, in 1978 they had OBPs of .321 and .295, respectively) Had Rice played in the “steroid” era would we be thinking of him not as great or even good but as an enormous pariah? I think there has been venom – from both sides. From those who think that Rice is undeserving –Neyer’s “make stuff up” comment from yesterday is a particulary and uncharacteristically unprofessional swipe from a superb writer pointing towards Dick Bresciani, an historian of the game with pretty much unimpeachable credentials (full disclosure – he’s a family friend). Just as some of Gammons’ comments about Neyer and the Rice non-supporters have been equally juvenile. What’s surprising is that at this site in particular there has been much equivocation about Rice’s credentials from those of us who grew up watching him bash. That there is so much ire out on the record at this site is, to me at least, a bit odd, and seems quite unsubtly related to the fact that Rice was a Red Sox. As for Bernie Williams, having lived in NYC during the prime of his career I loved watching him play (he and Mo are basically the only ones I can say that about) and, despite the apparent creakiness of his last couple of years I am honestly not sure about his credentials. He was a wonderful player, so good and smooth that I could quite easily see him in the Hall of Fame. But I can also see him on the cusp, not making it, partly due to things not his fault. Had he played for a lesser team he might be a shoo-in, his talents may have been more obvious to others around the league. I think he is unfairly seen as a lesser player than he was because of the strength of the team around him and the glaring presence of players like Jeter and Rivera. Context, statistics, circumstance, all these things matter. We shouldn’t be so absolute in proclaiming to know the rightness or wrongness of such a vague honor, and that goes for both sides. Am I denigrating myself with such an opinion? No, because you’ve expressed it without the unwarranted bitterness others here have used. If Tim Raines’ lack of admission is such a big deal — and I agree that it is — then use Rice’s admission as the springboard for advocating for Raines. Simply ridiculing Rice by listing a series of obviously non-HOFers you now believe worthy of admission is unproductive and makes you look nothing more than petulant and angry. For my money, Blyleven’s continued exclusion is a much bigger outrage. He should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer as one of the most dominant pitchers of his era. Now he’s running out of time. That’s a damn shame. Jim Rice never did anything to me. I’m not angry at him, it’s the selection process and the proven horrible idiocy of the voters that is turning the Hall of Fame into a laughingstock among sports. That’s what’s getting me angry. And, for my money, I didn’t really start the throwing of the insults; Bill’s only argument was that we weren’t showing ‘grace’ because we disagreed with the selection. And then you come along and tell us we’re ‘denigrating’ ourselves. Way to keep the discussion aboveboard, guys. “Bill’s only argument was that we weren’t showing ‘grace’ because we disagreed with the selection.” No, Andrew, my argument is that it’s time to let it go. I have plenty of room for disagreement. Hell, that’s what makes us tick. But to me it went WAY too far yesterday. It got kind of shitty, frankly. Your argument became foul and contemptable on a day Jim Rice was celebrating a monumental achievement. I know I’m not going to change your mind, and that’s fine. My point was that you’ve hit the end of the line. At some point you have to admit defeat, even though you still believe you’re right. We Sox fans conceded that Rice was on the cusp. We conceded that we would have understood had he not been elected. I even predicted that he’d fall short. But he got in, he got the holy grail. And a couple of you guys just kept on carping. And it began to seem as though the unspoken part of your argument was that if you’re going to be borderline and get in, you first must be a Yankee. It reeked of Yankee entitlement. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s my inference. One thing, I think, that we forget sometimes is that there are elements to this game that cannot be calculated. I firmly believe there is value in sabrmetrics, even though I do not fully comprehend the concept. (And probably do not partially comprehend the concept. I’m just starting to grasp OPS and then I get OPS+. WTF?) Staking everything to a number devalues why we love the game – it is, in the end, largely unpredictable. Sure, the odds often play out, (Mo vs. pick anyone), and sometimes they do not (2004 ALCS). That uncertainty is what keeps us watching and listening and coming back. And arguing with each other. Sometimes we won’t hit an absolute (Williams vs. DiMaggio. It’ll go on forever.) And sometimes there is an absolute – a Hall of Fame election. I, for example, have contended that Puckett was overrated, that Nolan Ryan was lucky and made his case through longevity, and that Gary Carter was a self-promoting blow-hard. I was really disappointed the day Carter was elected. But he was, and he deserved to have his moment. Sometimes we have to stop clammoring for the definitive, the absolute (Good God, I’m having a Terrence Mann moment), and just let ourselves enjoy what’s unfolding before our eyes. That’s what makes baseball great. Jim Rice was elected to the Hall of Fame. Yes, he was borderline. But he got in. And for that he deserves your respect, not your scorn. (Now I sound like Norman Dale.) I’d like to think that if Mattingly got in that you’d expect the same respect and grace from us, and that we’d willingly grant it. (p.s., the Baseball Hall of Fame is only a laughingstock when voters leave Rickey Henderson off their ballots.) “…unfair accusations hurled at Paul this weekend…” they weren’t unfair sf…once again you and paul turned this into a yankee v. sox moment…this time you were right…i was disappointed to see folks bring yankee names into this discussion…this should have been about rice and only rice…bill is half right about whether or not it’s fair game to discuss rice’s eligiblity…i think it’s fair game…just like it’s fair to question why any voters left rickey’s name off their ballot…i have no problem with rice being in the hall…he was a great player…did his game have flaws or weaknesses?…sure…i don’t want to see the standards lowered either, but for 10+ years, he was one of the greats…it’s kind of like the mvp or gold glove debate…without benchmarks, it’s gut feel, impact on the game, and sentimentality that determine who gets in…that, to answer your burning question, is also why rizzuto got in… Comments are closed.