Hall Opens Doors For Henderson, Rice

Jim Rice has finally made it to where many felt he has belonged for a long, long time. For the rest of his life, he will be known as Hall of Famer, Jim Rice. Rice joins Rickey Henderson as the only two 2009 MLB Hall of Fame inductees (Yankees and Indians 2B Joe Gordon was voted in posthumously by the Veteran’s Committee, and long-time announcer Tony Kubek, who won the Ford C. Frick Award will also be inducted).

While Henderson was not a unanimous choice, he was named on 511 of 539 ballots (94.8%). Rice needed to be named on at least 405 ballots. He just squeaked by, being named on 412 ballots (76.2%). 75% of the votes are needed for induction.

Only 12 players in Major League history had higher voting percentages than Henderson, and none were unanimous:

Year   Player Ballots Votes %
2007   Cal Ripken 545 537 98.5
2007   Tony Gwynn 545 532 97.6
1992   Tom Seaver 430 425 98.8
1999   Nolan Ryan 497 491 98.8
1936   Ty Cobb 226 222 98.2
1999   George Brett 497 488 98.2
1982   Hank Aaron 415 406 97.8
1995   Mike Schmidt 460 444 96.5
1989   Johnny Bench 447 431 96.4
1994   Steve Carlton 455 436 95.8
1936   Honus Wagner 226 215 95.1
1936   Babe Ruth 226 215 95.1



Henderson, a 10-time All-Star and 1990 AL MPV, played 25 years for 10 different ballclubs, including Oakland, both New York teams, Toronto, San Diego, and Boston, amongst others.. He retired in 2003 as the all-time leader in both stolen bases (1406) and runs (2295).

He also had 3055 career hits, and 297 HR. That, along with his propensity to steal a base or two (130 in 1982 is a modern day record) made him one of the most feared leadoff hitters in his generation.

Asked in a conference call about how he felt about the honor, Henderson said, “I feel great about it. It’s been a long time coming,”

Rice was voted in his 15th and final year on the ballot. Last year, he had 72.2% of the vote (missing by 16 votes). He joins only Red Ruffing (1967) and Ralph Kiner (1971) as the only three players in history to be inducted in their last year of eligibility.

“The only thing I can say is I’m glad it’s over with,” Rice said. “I’m in there and they can’t take it away.”

Rice played for 16 seasons, all with the Red Sox. From 1976-1985, Rice led the AL in games, at-bats, runs, hits, homers, RBIs, slugging percentage, total bases, extra-base hits, go-ahead RBIs, and multi-hit games. The eight-time All-Star earned the AL MVP award in 1978 when he batted .315 and hit 46 HR with 139 RBI and 213 hits.

Players on the ballot who didn’t make the cut this year but received enough votes for another look next season include:

Player Total Votes   %   2008
Andre Dawson 361   67.00%   65.90%
Bert Blyleven 338   62.70%   61.90%
Lee Smith 240   44.50%   43.30%
Jack Morris 237   44.00%   42.90%
Tommy John 171   31.7%*   29.10%
Tim Raines 122   22.60%   24.30%
Mark McGwire 118   21.90%   23.60%
Alan Trammell 94   17.40%   18.20%
Dave Parker 81   15.00%   15.10%
Don Mattingly 64   11.90%   15.80%
Dale Murphy 62   11.50%   13.80%
Harold Baines 32   5.90%   5.20%

* Last year of eligibility


Players on the ballot who didn’t receive enough votes for another look next season include:

Player Total Votes   %
Mark Grace 22   4.10%
David Cone 21   3.90%
Matt Williams 7   1.30%
Mo Vaughn 6   1.10%
Jay Bell 2   0.40%
Jesse Orosco 1   0.20%
Ron Gant 0   0.00%
Dan Plesac 0   0.00%
Greg Vaughn 0   0.00%


Next year’s ballot will likely include: Roberto Alomar, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Eric Karros, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, and Fred McGriff. Looking at this list today, one would like to think that both Dawson and Blyleven have a legitimate shot to get in next season.

While Alomar, Larkin, Martinez (if the voters decide that a DH really does contribute to the game) probably will be granted entry into the Hall, it won’t be in their first year of eligibility. There have only been 44 players inducted in their first year. That is a very exclusive list that should remain that way.

Meanwhile, a very hearty congratulations to this year’s well deserving inductees: Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice.

The 2009 Induction Ceremony will be held on July 26th, in Cooperstown, NY.