Friday, April 4, 2014

1984 TOPPS JIM RICE

BEANTOWN SLUGGER DELUXE.


RICE ''ERUPTED'' QUITE A BIT DURING HIS CAREER.


THE FRONT PAGE

  • If Dave Parker was the class of the NL in the late 1970s, Jim Rice was his counterpart in the AL. Can't think of one without the other, that wonderful '79 Sports Illustrated baseball preview cover only enhancing the connection. While Parker played for six teams, Rice followed Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski as a career-long Red Sox left fielder, playing 16 years. The '78 AL MVP hit 382 homers, drove in 1,451 runs, had a slash line of .298/.352/.502 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in '09. 

THE BACK PAGE

  • Rice had a nice peak from '77-'79 and was amid another from '83-'86.

PHOTO PLAY

  • The end result of Rice's compact and powerful swing: Pow!

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • Rice was named the International League's MVP in '74 before being called up to Boston along with fellow ''Gold Dust Twin'' Fred Lynn.
  • Rice finished second to Lynn for AL Rookie of the Year in '75 after hitting 22 home runs and driving in 102 runs.
  • Missed the postseason that year after his left hand was broken by a Vern Ruhle pitch on Sept. 21.
  • In '78, Rice put up one of the all-time great seasons when he became the first player since Joe DiMaggio in '37 to accumulate 400-plus total bases. No AL player has reached that number since. Rice also led the AL in eight categories, including home runs (46), RBI (139), hits (213), triples (15), slugging (.600), OPS (.970) and OPS+ (157). 
  • In addition to '78, Rice led the AL in homers two other times ('77 and '83 with 39 each year). He also led the league in RBI in '83 with 126.
  • From '77-'79, Rice averaged 200-plus hits and 39-plus homers.
  • While Rice did a lot of trotting around the bases, he had trouble getting down the first-base line. If there was a runner on and he hit a grounder, it was a double play. He established a single-season record of 36 in '84 and four times led the league.
  • While not known as a great left fielder, he domesticated the Green Monster at Fenway and had 21 assists in '83.
  • Rice made up for missing the '75 postseason in '86. In 14 postseason games, he had 14 hits, two homers and six RBI.
  • There was much debate about Rice's Hall of Fame credentials, and he didn't make it until his 15th and final year of eligibility on the writer's ballot. Many believe his career was held in greater appreciation when compared to the numbers put up in the Steroid Era. All I know is as an Orioles fan in the '70s and '80s, when Rice came up with men on, I cringed.

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