It has been nearly a year since I sat down and wrote my first blog. For every subject I have written about, there are 3 that I have not. Usually this is due to a lack of time or just a lack of passion to write at that moment. Every once in a while, I will see or hear something that reminds me about a topic I have been dying to write about, and it motivates me to finally do it. Today, is one of those days.
Yesterday, my buddy Dave posted a link on facebook to a story in which Reggie Jackson was commenting on current Hall of Famers that he didn’t necessarily believe deserved to be in. On its surface I was only slightly miffed by his comments because I have always considered him a guy who overvalues himself. This is not to say that I think he doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall, but merely that he benefited from longevity, and playing for good teams. However, as I read the list of names he considered to be questionable, I saw a name that made me want to knock his old, arrogant ass out. That name was Jim Rice.
Before I drop some knowledge on everyone reading this blog, let me clearly state that Jim Rice was my childhood hero. I know by admitting that I am compromising my integrity, but I assure every reader that I will bring nothing but facts to my commentary. If you come away from this blog with the feeling that it was biased, please feel free to stick it to me in the comments section. I can take it. Here we go.
Both players saw their first action at age 21. Although neither of them played much, Jackson had nearly twice as many at bats as Rice, 118-67, yet only 3 more hits. Rice had a better average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. They both had 1 homerun. Jackson had more double and triples. I only mention these numbers because it establishes the trend that exist when you compare these 2 players.
In their first full seasons in the league, Rices stats destroy Jacksons. They had roughly the same amount of at bats, yet Reggie only beat Rice in 4 catagories. HR: 29-22, 3B: 6-4, BB: 50-36, and SO: 171-122. Rice led in Avg, Hits, RBI, Runs, OBP, & SLG%. Rice had one of the 10 best offensive rookie seasons in the last 40 years and the only reason he finished 2nd for rookie of the year was because his teammate, Fred Lynn, actually had a better rookie year. He also finished 3rd in MVP voting……AS A ROOKIE! To be fair, Jackson finished 27th for MVP his rookie year. We are 2 years into these players careers and Rice had him beat in both. Time for more facts.
Over the next 11 seasons, the prime of their careers, Rice had much better numbers than Reggie. Avg: .307-.275, Hits: 1991-1561, RBI: 1174-1040, 3B: 45-27, while Reggie only lead Rice in HR: 339-328, and 2B: 306-300. Those 2 stats are very close in comparison to the ones that Rice led. Jackson did dominate one stat though. SO: 1389-1084. They both finished in the top 5 in MVP voting 5 times during these 11 years, both winning 1. Jackson was a 9 time All-Star, Rice made it 8 times. We all know that Reggie had some awesome playoff numbers, and I truly recognize those accomplishments, but he played on far better teams than Rice, and was able to showcase himself more often.
The real story here is the fact that after these 11 years, 13 years total in the league, Rice broke down and Reggie didn’t. Reggie racked up HR’s while batting below .255 in all but 2 of his last 8 seasons. He also racked up SO’s. He may have finished his career with 563 taters, but in his 21 years in the league, he finished with less RBI than Rice had in his 11 year prime. He only batted .300 once and in the .290′s two other times. If not for an injury plagued last season in the league, Rice would have finished as a lifetime .300 hitter, instead of .298. Reggies legend is well deserved but in their prime, Rice was the better player. No better example can be given than comparing their MVP seasons. Jackson finished with 32 HR’s, 117 RBI, & a .293 AVG. Rice had 46 HR’s, 139 RBI, & a .315 AVG. You tell me which one of those guys you would want on your team for a decade? Call me a homer all you want, but only a Yankee suck up would choose Reggies 10 best years over Rices. AND THAT’S WHY HE’S IN THE HALL, JACKASS!!!!!