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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ken Rosenthal changes his multi-million dollar HOF vote following team PR campaign--12/05

"Actually, Rice was dominant for 12 years, from 1975 to '86. During that period, according to research by Red Sox vice-president/historian Dick Bresciani, Rice led the American League in games, at-bats, runs, hits, home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage, total bases and outfield assists.

More from Bresciani: Rice is one of only nine retired players with at least 382 homers and a career average of .298. The others are Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams — all Hall of Famers.

Did such facts change my mind? Not really; I already had a decent grasp of Rice's place in history. But Bresciani's case— and the pleas of Rice fans in e-mails, and conversations over the years left me with a gnawing feeling. Like many voters, I frequently reconsider my ballot. And I never was totally comfortable with my position on Rice." (from Rosenthal's foxsports.com article, 12/05)

  • Lonestarball.com (12/26/05) puts the Rice info into another perspective, perhaps not part of the overwhelming barrage of publicity from the Red Sox PR Dept.:

"Of course, by making the cut-off exactly Rice's homer totals and career average, it stacks the deck somewhat. Just look at the players immediately surrounding Rice in homers.

Harold Baines had a .289 average and 384 homers, plus a better OBP than Rice. He's not a Hall of Famer.

  • Frank Howard had exactly the same number of homers, and while he had a lower average, he had exactly the same OBP as Rice. And Howard played in a much less hitter-friendly environment. Howard isn't a HOFer.

Albert Belle had a .295 average and 381 homers. And Belle has a 23 point edge in EQA over Rice. If Rice is a HOFer, so is Albert Belle.

Dwight Evans had more homers than Rice, a big edge in OBP, and was an elite defensive rightfielder, to boot. Yet Dwight Evans -- a legitimate HOFer -- gets no consideration.

Darrell Evans had more homers and a higher OBP than Rice. But he's not considered a HOFer.

  • In fact, Rice's impending election -- and it looks like he will be elected, even though he has no business in the Hall -- is probably great news for Juan Gonzalez, the Jim Rice of the 1990s.

Like Rice, Juan played in a great hitter's park. Like Rice, Juan was one of the most feared hitters in the game. Like Rice, Juan quit being an effective player in his early-30s.

Juan's .295 average and 434 homers compare favorably to Rice, and Juan has a higher career EQA than Rice. Juan also has two MVP awards, to just one for Rice.

  • It looks like Jim Rice will be elected, in what will be a blow to the "stathead" faction of the baseball world, and a big victory for a "I know a Hall of Famer when I see him" faction. Even Rosenthal concedes:
  • One of my concerns in electing Rice to Cooperstown is that it would strengthen the candidacies of other borderline candidates, effectively lowering the Hall's standards. Based on "Win Shares," James' all-encompassing statistic to rate each player, Dave Parker, Dale Murphy and Will Clark were among those who had superior careers to Rice. Fair enough. I just don't see any of them as Hall of Famers.

    But it looks like Jim Rice will get in...if not this year, then in the next few years.

    Too bad for guys like Murphy, Parker and Clark, and for guys like Frank Howard and Dewey Evans and Reggie Smith and Freddie Lynn and Ken Singleton, contemporaries of Rice who were better players, but who get no consideration for the Hall while Rice gets in."
If you want to hang your hat on the "not really" Rosenthal volunteered as to whether the Red Sox PR bash influenced his multi-million dollar vote, then have a nice day. My issue here isn't as much Rice as the fact that HOF VOTING SHOULD BE CANCELLED IMMEDIATELY AS FRAUDULENT.

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