Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice were elected to the Hall of Fame. Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice both received more than 75% of the votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, and will now have spots in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame voting took place to decide from a list of players who would be elected by the BBWAA in 2009, and ended up only electing two players this year. Those coming close but not making the Hall of Fame included Andre Dawson (67.0% of the vote), Bert Blyleven (62.7%), and Lee Smith (44.5%).
The Hall of Fame voting dictates that players must appear on at least 75% of the ballots that are cast, and with 539 ballots available, that left only two players reaching the amount needed. Rickey Henderson was selected on 511 of the ballots, receiving a 94.8% approval, while Jim Rice appeared on 412 ballots, receiving a 76.4% approval. This was the first year that Rickey Henderson was on the Hall of Fame ballot, and when he retired he was the all-time leader in runs and stolen bases. He has since been passed in total runs scored by Barry Bonds, but has held on to the lead for most stolen bases since he retired 5 years ago.
During his career that started in 1979, Rickey Henderson was considered by most to be the best lead-off hitter in baseball history. He played for the Oakland Athletics and then the New York Yankees, but really made it big when he came back to the Oakland Athletics in 1989. Together with Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, he was part of one of the most dangerous line-ups in baseball history, and he shows that he could hit home runs as well as steal bases. For his career, Rickey Henderson ended up with 3055 hits, 297 home-runs, and 1406 stolen bases.
Jim Rice played his entire career for the Boston Red Sox, and also had a very successful career along the way. He wasn’t a shoe in to make the Hall of Fame, but due to great name recognition as well as a knack for leadership, he found his way into the Hall of Fame on Monday as well. For his career, Rice hit 382 home runs, and was the 1978 AL MVP. He hit .298 for his career with 1451 RBI.
It was a definite that Rickey Henderson make the Hall of Fame, and with his statistics, it was thought that he could be voted in on 100% of the ballots. It is shocking that 28 voters felt that he should not be elected, and a shame that they did that. They should be forced to explain why they would not put in the best lead-off hitter of all time, and most definitely the most frightening base-runner ever to play the game. He could change a game just by walking and then stealing bases. Jim Rice on the other hand, almost didn’t make it into the Hall of Fame, and some consider his election to be a tad undeserved.
Sources: HOF Vote Totals, Rickey Henderson Player Card