Yesterday, Jim Rice, Rickey Henderson, and the late Joe Gordon were all inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Both Rice and Henderson played left field while Gordon played second base.
Jim Rice, 56, played his whole career with the Boston Red Sox from 1974 to 1989. He was an 8-time American League All-Star and was voted AL MVP in 1978. He had a career batting average of .298 with 382 homeruns and 1,451 RBIs. When he retired, his 1,503 career games in left field ranked seventh in AL history.
Although Rice was a great baseball player, his most notable accomplishment was probably what happened during a game on August 7, 1982. Tom Keane brought his two sons to that game, and they had seats right next to the Red Sox dugout. His oldest son, Jonathan, was 4 years old at the time. Dave Stapleton, who oddly enough was Jonathan’s favorite player, hit a line drive that went in the stands and hit Jonathan on the side of the head. Jonathan started bleeding heavily, and Rice got out of the dugout, picked up Jonathan and brought him into the clubhouse, where he was treated by the team’s medical staff. Doctors say that Rice probably saved Jonathan’s life.
“It’s hard to comprehend. I am in awe to be in this elite company and humbled to be accepting this honor. I cannot think of anywhere I’d rather be than to be right here, right now, with you and you,” Rice said, first pointing to the 50 Hall of Famers behind him, and then to the fans. “Thank you.”
Rickey Henderson, 50, played for nine different teams from 1979 to 2003. He played for the Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, Anaheim Angels, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, respectively.
He holds the single-season record for most stolen bases (130), and remains the only player in AL history to steal 100 bases in a season. Henderson had a career batting average of .279 with 3,055 hits, 297 home runs, 1,406 stolen bases, and 2,295 runs scored.
“My journey as a player is complete. I am now in the class of the greatest players of all time, and at this moment I am very humbled,” said Henderson.
The Oakland Athletics will retire #24 for Henderson on August 1, 2009.
Joe Gordon, who died in 1978 at the age of 63, played second base for the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians from 1938 to 1950. His career batting average was .268, with 246 homeruns, 975 RBIs, 1,160 double plays, and a .970 fielding percentage.
Gordon won the AL MVP in 1942 and was an All-Star nine times. His nickname was “Flash” because of his speed. He still holds the league record for most home runs by a second baseman.
“We consider Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame as his final resting place, a place he’ll be honored forever,” said Gordon’s daughter, Judy.
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