|Date of Birth||8 March 1953, Anderson, South Carolina, USA|
|Birth Name||James Edward Rice|
|Height||6' 2" (1.88 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
For the better part of 12 season (1975-86), Jim Rice was one of the best hitters in baseball, regularly batting over .300 and driving in 100 or more RBIs while hovering near the lead in hits. At the time of his own retirement, Hank Aaron predicted that if one player was to break his all-time home run record, it likely would be Rice. In the periods of 1977-80 and 1983-86, he was named to eight American League All Star Teams, while in 1978, Rice became the first player since Joe DiMaggio to total more than 400 bases (406) in a season. A the end of the 1978 season, Rice had racked up the home run and RBI titles and had come in third in batting while leading the league in slugging percentage (.600), games (163), at bats (677), hits (213), triples (15), extra-base hits (86) and times-on-base (276). For that prodigious season, he was named the American League's Most Valuable Player. It wasn't until the steroid era that Larry Walker, playing in home-run launching pad Denver in 1997, again surpassed 400 total bases.
Rice was part of the Red Sox teams that won A.L. titles in 1975 and 1986, and the 1988 A.L. Eastern Division Championship. During his MVP year, the Red Sox lost a one-game playoff to their hated rivals, the New York Yankees, a game won by Yankees ace Ron Guidry, who racked up his 25th win against three losses. Despite Guidry's phenomenal season that year, Rice beat out "Louisiana Lightning" for MVP, and would finished in the top 10 in voting for A.L. MVP five other times (1975, 1977, 1979, 1983 and 1986).
During his career, Rice topped the league three times in home runs, twice in RBIs, four times in total bases, and twice in slugging average. Four times, he had more than 200 hits. At his prime, he was the equal of Hall of Famers Dave Winfield and Eddie Murray with the bat; in his career (which was cut short by eye sight problems, robbing him of the chance to amass 400 homers and 3,000 hits), he was similar to Hall of Famers Orlando Cepeda, Willie Stargell, Duke Snider and Billy Williams. In Hall of Fame voting, he has exceeded 50% of the vote but has yet to go over the three-quarters threshold needed for enshrinement. In the 2006 balloting, he amassed 337 votes for 64.8%, falling 53 votes short.
It is barely mentioned now that when Rice made his major league debut on August 19, 1974, Boston was in the midst of racial turmoil caused by forced busing. By 1983, when Rice became the then-highest-paid player in baseball history, he was for a time the sole African American on the team, a team noted for its lack of black players. The Red Sox had a history of Southern ownership and management: it had been the last team to integrate (in 1959, 12 years after Jackie Robinson -- who was given a sham tryout by the Red Sox -- came up with the Brooklyn Dodgers, nearly a decade after it had ceded the rights to Willie Mays, arguably the greatest baseball player ever, rather than integrate). To put this into perspective, four years after a nearly all-black team had won the 1979 World Series (the Pirates), the Red Sox had only one black player, and he being the best hitter in baseball.
The period of Rice's playing days was a tough time to be a black player in Boston, a sports-town whose lingering reputation for racism is still cited by such players as Barry Bonds as a reason they would never play there. Yet, Rice steadfastly refuses to bring this past history up to win the sympathy of voters. Still, it is part of the shameful legacy of baseball that cannot and should not be denied.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood
|Corine||(1972 - present) (2 children)|