Red Sox legend and NESN studio analyst Jim Rice will be honored Sunday with induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. But the tributes won't end there. As first reported on Red Sox Game Day Live on NESN, Rice's No. 14 will be retired by the Red Sox in a ceremony Tuesday, July 28, before the Sox play the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park.
"As a fan of the game and a steward of this great franchise, it is an honor to be a part of the Red Sox during this special moment in the team's history," said Red Sox principal owner John Henry. "On behalf of our partners and the entire organization, we want to congratulate Jim Rice on his upcoming induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and finally taking his rightful place among the greatest players in the game. The retirement of his number will be a fitting way to honor one of the most dominant hitters to ever wear a Red Sox uniform."
Rice's number will be the seventh to be retired by the franchise, joining Bobby Doerr (No. 1), Joe Cronin (4), Johnny Pesky (6), Carl Yastrzemski (8), Ted Williams (9) and Carlton Fisk (27). Jackie Robinson's No. 42 has been retired by every team in the majors.
"It will be a thrill to welcome Jim Rice back to Fenway after his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame," said Red Sox chairman Tom Werner. "As one of only four Hall of Famers to spend his entire career with this organization, Jim will be joining an elite group of players whose contributions to Red Sox history are etched in the memories of generations of fans. And we are very fortunate that he continues to be a part of Red Sox games by bringing his more than three decades of baseball experience to the NESN broadcasting team."
Rice was elected to the Hall of Fame on Jan. 12, 2009, becoming the 32nd Red Sox player to receive the honor. He will be enshrined in Cooperstown on Sunday along with former outfielder Rickey Henderson, a longtime member of the A's who spent the 2002 season in a Red Sox uniform.
"This is a moment of celebration for all of Red Sox Nation –- young and old," said Larry Lucchino, the team's president and CEO. "Our fans have known for a long time that Jim Rice, one of the greatest offensive baseball players in recent history, belongs in the Hall of Fame. We look forward to celebrating his achievement with our fans at Fenway Park, when Jim's No. 14 goes up permanently on the right-field façade."
Over 16 seasons in Boston between 1974 and 1989, Rice hit .298 with 382 home runs and 1,451 RBIs in 2,089 games. An eight-time All-Star, he placed among the top five in American League Most Valuable Player voting six times during his career, more than any other player between 1963 and 2005, and won the award in 1978 when he hit .315 with 213 hits, 46 home runs, 139 RBIs and a .600 slugging percentage. The former Red Sox captain also racked up 406 total bases in 1978, becoming the only AL player to reach 400 since Joe DiMaggio in 1937 (418).
Rice has been a member of the organization since he was selected in the first round of the 1971 draft. In 1974, he won the International League Triple Crown, batting .337 with 25 long balls and 93 RBIs for Pawtucket. Following his playing career, he was a roving minor league hitting instructor for Boston from 1992-94, a major league hitting coach from 1995-2000 and continues to serve the team today as a special assignment instructor, a role he has held since 2001. He also works as an analyst on NESN's pregame and postgame Red Sox coverage.
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