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.