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HOF Profile: Jim Rice

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Jim Rice - Leftfielder

 

Boston Red Sox 1974-1989

 

13th year on the ballot

 

Past HOF Voting Results

1995: 29.78%

1996: 35.32%

1997: 37.63%

1998: 42.92%

1999: 29.38%

2000: 51.50%

2001: 57.86%

2002: 55.08%

2003: 52.22%

2004: 54.55%

2005: 59.50%

2006: 64.80%

 

Awards

1978 AL MVP

1983 AL Silver Slugger - OF

1984 AL Silver Slugger - OF

 

All-Star Selections: 8 (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986)

 

League Leader

1977: Homeruns, Total Bases, Slugging %

1978: Hits, Homeruns, RBI, Triples, Total Bases, Runs Created, Slugging %, OPS, OPS+

1979: Total Bases

1983: Homeruns, RBI, Total Bases

 

Career Ranks

Hits: 93rd

HR: 52nd

RBI: 52nd

TB: 63rd

SLG: 89th

RC: 79th

 

Hall of Fame Stats

 

Black Ink: Batting - 33 (49) (Average HOFer ≈ 27)

Gray Ink: Batting - 176 (56) (Average HOFer ≈ 144)

HOF Standards: Batting - 42.9 (122) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)

HOF Monitor: Batting - 146.5 (82) (Likely HOFer > 100)

 

Similar Batters in HOF: 4 (Orlando Cepeda, Duke Snider, Billy Williams, Willie Stargell)

Other Similar Batters: Andres Galarraga, Ellis Burks, Joe Carter, Dave Parker, Luis Gonzalez, Chili Davis

 

Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacement Level (WARP3)

 

1974: 1/0.1

1975: 20/4.8

1976: 17/4.2

1977: 26/7.4

1978: 36/10.4

1979: 28/8.2

1980: 16/4.9

1981: 15/6.3

1982: 21/6.4

1983: 24/9.1

1984: 17/7.3

1985: 14/5.4

1986: 28/9.4

1987: 8/2.7

1988: 9/2.6

1989: 2/0.1

 

Career Win Shares: 282

Career WARP3: 89.2

 

Would he get my vote?

 

No. A few years ago I was on the Rice bandwagon but I have since jumped off. He was fabulous from 1977-1979 but when you look at the rest of the career there's only two other great seasons and the offensive standards for a being HOF corner outfielder are almost as high as first basemen. He also benefitted from playing his entire career in Fenway Park and he had a large home/road split posting an OPS 131 points higher (.920 to .789) at Fenway than on the road. I think he needed two more good years to push him over the top but his skills eroded rapidly in his mid-30s so much so that he's become the poster boy for a player who has a sudden decline in production in their mid-30s. If he had been a great defensive outfielder or a great base stealer that could have also pushed him over the top but he was neither. I will say that he seems a tad underrated by WARP3. He is gaining support from the writers and I could see him getting a big bump in one his final two years on the ballot although he obviously no chance this year. There's a case to be made for him and I won't have a problem if he ever gets in but he doesn't get my imaginary vote.

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This seems like a good time to address a general fallacy seen in Hall of Fame arguments. A chatter posted this question to Rob Neyer on espn.com...

 

Everyone (13) with lifetime avg of .298 or more and 382+ HRs (Rice's numbers) are in. 1975 to 1986 Rice placed in the top five of the MVP voting six times, with finishes of first, third, third, fourth, fourth and fifth. He was the most feared hitter in the AL during that time. If you watched games during this point rather than playing strat-o-matic, you'd be writing columns about why Rice should be in the Hall.

 

Among those thirteen eligible players, Rice ranks thirteenth in home runs and tied for twelfth in batting average. The problem with this method is that it eliminates all players close to Rice but slightly worse, while leaving in all players clearly superior to Rice. Is Rice similar to Babe Ruth (.342, 714)? Of course not. Expand the criteria a bit, and you have Albert Belle (.295, 381), Harold Baines (.289, 384) and Ellis Burks (.291, 352). Just by lowering the bar to .285 and 350 home runs, you now have a group of 38 players. 23 are eligible for the Hall, 18 are in. Still a good percentage, but not a slam dunk case.

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Bill Plaschke is sending questions to Rob Neyer now?

 

Looking at the Rice's MVP finishes I've posted two Award Redo entries on year's that he finished in the wrtier's Top 5 that the I had him 3rd on the '79 ballot and 5th on the '86 ballot. I haven't done redos the '75, '77, '78 awards but I don't even have to look at the numbers in depth to know his 3rd place finish in '75 was a joke as he had only 20 Win Shares. At first glance it looks he's overrated on the '77 ballot with his 4th place finish but probably would be in the Top 10. The '78 ballot he does seem like the right choice for winning the award although there's a strong case for Ron Guidry.

 

Now I acutally have done the numbers on the '83 ballot but have never posted an entry but it's not interesting enough for one since I agree with the winner and there was no controversy about the award, although a rare year where teammates were 1-2 on the ballot, so here's my Reader's Digest Award Redo for the 1983 A.L. MVP:

 

Actual Results (Top 10 only)

 

1. Cal Ripken

2. Eddie Murray

3. Carlton Fisk

4. Jim Rice

5. Cecil Cooper

6. Dan Quisenberry

7. Dave Winfield

8. Lou Whitaker

9. Lance Parrish

10. Harold Baines

 

My Top 10

 

1. Cal Ripken

2. Wade Boggs

3. Robin Yount

4. Eddie Murray

5. Lou Whitaker

6. Rickey Henderson

7. Alan Trammell

8. Cecil Cooper

9. Dan Quisenberry

10. Jim Rice

 

So another one where Rice was overrated on the ballot.

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