Date of birth: 8 March 1953
Primary position: Left Fielder
Elected to Red Sox Hall of Fame: 1995
Elected to Red Sox Hall of Fame: 2009
It is hard to overlook the accomplishments of Jim Rice as a professional baseball player; between 1975 and 1986, Rice was one of the most feared hitters in the American League as he averaged .304 with 29 home runs and 106 RBI each season. These numbers, in part, helped Rice earn induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009 on his 15th and final ballot.
He also finished in the top five of the MVP vote six times during that stretch, winning his only award in 1978 when he stroked 46 home runs, led the league with 139 RBI, and batted .315, just twenty points behind league-leader Rod Carew. He also collected an amazing 406 total bases that season, the first to have 400 or more total bases in a single season since Hank Aaron in 1959 and a feat that’s been matched since only six times.
Drafted and signed by Boston in 1971, he earned Triple Crown, Rookie of the Year, and MVP honors as a member of the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox in 1974. The following season, Rice broke into the majors and, along with fellow rookie sensation Fred Lynn, sizzled in the outfield for the Sox as they pushed towards a run at the World Series. He and Lynn were dubbed the “Gold Dust Twins” and it appeared that one of them would earn Rookie of the Year and MVP honors, the first to accomplish such a feat. Unfortunately for Rice and Boston, an errant pitch injured his wrist and he missed the remainder of the season as well as the 1975 Fall Classic between the Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds.
Eleven years later, appearing for the only time in the playoffs, Rice hit a 3-run home run in the seventh game of the ALCS to help Boston win the AL pennant, then batted .333 and scored the lone run in a 1-0 Game 1 victory for Boston against New York in the World Series. He was also an eight-time All-Star and a Silver Slugger award winner in 1983 and 1984.
Since hanging up his cleats after the 1989 season, he has held several positions in the Red Sox organization, most recently as a hitting coach and as a special instructor. Today, he sits behind the desk in the New England Sports Network (NESN) studios and provides commentary and analysis before and after Red Sox games broadcast by the network.
Career Batting Statistics through 2018 Season
Awards and Recognition with Boston
Home Run Champion (39), 1977
Home Run Champion (46), 1978
Home Run Champion (39), 1983
Most Valuable Player Award, 1978
RBI Champion (139), 1978
RBI Champion (126), 1983
Silver Slugger Award (LF), 1983
Silver Slugger Award (LF), 1984
Memorable Moments for Jim Rice
- 19 August 1974 - Making his major league debut, Jim Rice goes 0-for-2 as the DH but drives in a run with a sacrifice fly in a 6-1 win over the White Sox at Fenway Park.
- 1 October 1974 - Jim Rice hits his first major league home run to break a 4-4 tie as Boston goes on to defeat Cleveland 7-4 at Fenway Park.
- 29 October 1975 - Sensational Red Sox rookie outfielder Fred Lynn is overwhelmingly selected as the American League Rookie of the Year by the baseball writers. Lynn finishes just a half-vote shy of being the unanimous choice as one writer gives teammate Jim Rice a half-vote for first place.
- 7 November 1978 - Red Sox slugger Jim Rice (.315 BA, 46 HR, 139 RBI) easily outdistances Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry for the American League Most Valuable Player award.
- 12 January 2009 - Former Red Sox left fielder Jim Rice, who spent all of his 16 years in baseball with Boston, is elected to the Hall of Fame in his final year of eligibility. Rice becomes the third player in Red Sox history to spend the bulk of his career playing left field for Boston, following in the footsteps of Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.