Jim Rice Speaker & Booking Information

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Rice was promoted in the Red Sox organization to being a full time player in 1975, after he was AAA's International League Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and Triple Crown winner in 1974. He and fellow rookie teammate Fred Lynn were brought up to the Red Sox at the same time, and were known as the "Gold Dust Twins". Rice finished in second place for the 1975 American League's Rookie of the Year honors, and third in the Most Valuable Player voting, with Lynn winning both awards. The Red Sox qualifed for postseason play, but Rice did not play in either the 1975 League Championship Series or World Series because of a wrist injury sustained during last week of the regular season. A disappointed Rice appeared during the postseason player introductions, in uniform and without the cast on his wrist. He removed the cast the night before, and announced that he was fit to play. The Red Sox management acting with a level head had persuaded him that healing would be in the best future interest of both Rice and the Red Sox. The Red Sox would go on to lose the World Series, 4 games to 3, to the Cincinnati Reds of the National League.

In 1978, Rice won the Most Valuable Player award in a campaign where he hit .315 (3rd in the league) and led the league in home runs (46), RBIs (139), hits (213), triples (15) and slugging percentage (.600). No other American League player has ever led the league in home runs and triples in the same season, and he is the only player ever to lead his league, and Major-league Baseball in triples, home runs, and RBIs in the same season. His 406 total bases that year was the most in the A.L. since Joe DiMaggio had 418 in 1937, and it made Rice the first major leaguer with 400 or more total bases since Hank Aaron's 400 in 1959. This feat wasn't repeated again until 1997 when Larry Walker had 409.

In 1986 Rice had 200 hits, batted .324, and had 110 RBIs. The Red Sox made it to the World Series for the second time during his career. This time, Rice played in all 14 postseason games, where he collected 14 hits, including hitting 2 home runs. He also scored 14 runs and drove in 6. The Red Sox would go on to lose the World Series to the New York Mets 4 games to 3 in memorable fashion, thus continuing their championship series difficulties.

Rice finished his 16-year career with a .298 batting average, 382 home runs (52nd best of all-time), 1451 RBIs (51st), 1249 runs scored, 2452 hits (91st), and 4129 total bases (61st). He was an American League All-Star eight times (1977-1980, 1983-1986). In addition to winning the AL MVP in 1978, he finished in the top 5 in MVP voting five other times (1975, 1977, 1979, 1983, 1986). Rice led the AL in home runs three times (1977, 1978, 1983), in RBI twice (1978, 1983), in slugging percentage twice (1977, 1978), and in total bases four times (1977-79, 1983). He also picked up Silver Slugger awards in 1983 and 1984 (the award was created in 1980). Rice hit at least 39 HR in a season four times, had eight 100 RBI seasons, four seasons with 200+ hits and batted over .300 seven times.

Rice is the only player in major league history to have over 200 hits and 35 HRs in three consecutive years. He is tied for the American-league record of leading the league in total bases for three straight seasons, and was one of three A.L. players to have three straight seasons of hitting at least 39 home runs while batting .315 or higher. According to the baseball-reference web site, Rice ranked among the league leaders in various batting categories more than 100 times during his career. From 1975 to 1986, Rice led the American League in total games played, at-bats, runs scored, hits, homers, RBIs, slugging percentage, total bases, extra-base hits, go-ahead RBIs, multi-hit games, and outfield assists. Among all Major League players during that time, Rice was the leader in five of these categories (Mike Schmidt is next, having led in four).

His biggest flaw as a hitter was his knack for hitting into double plays. Rice's ability to hit a baseball dangerously hard, coupled with having many slow-footed teammates on base in front of him (e.g., Wade Boggs, Dwight Evans, Bill Buckner, etc.) resulted in many double plays. In 1984 he hit into a single season record of 36 double plays. He is not in bad company when it comes to grounding into double plays, because many of the career leaders in this category are Hall of Famers (e.g., Cal Ripken, Carl Yastrzemski, Hank Aaron, etc.). Rice led the league in this category in four different seasons (1982-1985), matching Hall of Famer Ernie Lombardi. It should be noted that the on-base prowess of Rice's teammates placed him in a double play situation over 2,000 times during his career, almost once for every game he played, and that Rice posted a batting average of .310 and slugging percentage of .515 in those situations, better than his overall career marks in those categories. In addition, the Red Sox were far more successful as a team in the games in which Rice faced at least one double play situation, posting a winning percentage of .572 in those games compared to a mark of .489 in games when Rice didn't face a double play situation.

Rice could hit for both power and average, and at this time, only nine other retired ballplayers rank ahead of him in both career home runs and batting average. They are: Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams. Currently, there are 19 leftfielders in the Baseball Hall of Fame. If compared against these players, Rice would rank sixth in home runs, ninth in RBIs, and 14th in both batting average and hits. While Rice is acknowledged as being one of the best hitters of his era, he has not yet received enough votes cast by the BBWAA in a given year to admit him as a member to Cooperstown. However, during the course of his continuing eligibility period he has received over 2800 of these votes which is the third most ever collected by any player. His last year of BBWAA voting eligibility is in 2008, which would place him on the 2009 ballot.

Rice was an adequate left fielder, having played there in 1543 games. He finished his career with a fielding percentage of .980 and had 137 outfield assists (comparable to Ted Williams', totals of .974 and 140 assists). Rice was able to master the various caroms that balls took off of the Green Monster in Fenway Park. His deceptive speed also helped his fielding. His 21 assists in 1983 remains the most by a Red Sox outfielder since 1944 when Bob Johnson had 23. Rice also appeared as a Designated Hitter in 530 games.

Rice was associated with a variety of charitable organizations during his career, primarily on behalf of children, some of which have carried on into his retirement. He was named an honorary chairman of The Jimmy Fund, the fundraising arm of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, in 1979. Rice's involvement with Major League Baseball's RBI program (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) resulted in the naming of a new youth baseball facility in Roxbury, Massachusetts in his honor in 1999. A youth recreation center in Rice's hometown of Anderson, South Carolina, is also named in his honor. Rice's most notable humanitarian accomplishment occurred during a nationally televised game on August 7, 1982, when he rushed into the stands to help a young boy who had been struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Dave Stapleton. As other players and spectators watched, Rice left the dugout and entered the stands to help 4-year old Jonathan Keane, who was bleeding heavily. Rice carried the boy onto the field, through the Red Sox dugout and into the clubhouse, where he could be treated by the team's medical staff. Team doctor Arthur Pappas later said that Rice's actions may have saved the boy's life, which would make Rice the only major league player ever to have saved a spectator's life on national television.

Rice has served as a Roving Batting Coach (1992-94) and Hitting Instructor (1995-2000), and remains an Instructional Batting Coach (2001-present) with the Boston Red Sox organization. Since 2003, he's also been employed as a commentator for the New England Sports Network (NESN) where he contributes to the Red Sox pre-game and post-game shows. He had a cameo appearance in the NESN movie, Wait Till This Year. The former slugger has been known to pass his wisdom on to the current Sox players and stars from time to time. Rice was elected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame when it first opened in 1995, and he is the 40th member of Ted Williams' Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, having been inducted along with Paul Molitor, Dave Winfield and Robin Yount in 2001.

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