Jim Rice: The Making of a Legend


Jul 19, 2009

Jim Rice: The Making of a Legend For Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Jim Rice, the journey to Cooperstown didn’t begin in Boston. Playing in the Hub simply accelerated the magical run. “Ed” recently went back to the place where it all began — Anderson, South Carolina — to revisit the site of his starting point.

Jim Edward Rice first started turning heads as a member of the  Anderson American Legion team, leading the squad to the 1969 State Finals.

Olin Sayers, the manager of Rice’s American Legion team from 1966-1970, and George Harrison, Rice’s Legion teammate from 1967-1971, remember their star outfielder as the same person who patrolled left field in front of Fenway Park’s Green Monster for all 16 years of his professional career.

“When you started to see Ed develop, you knew he had the skills — you knew he had it — he was always strong,” Harrison recalls of his former teammate. “His sound, when the ball would hit the bat, was a different type of sound. It just jumps off.”

Coaching the legend was never the easiest — or cheapest — thing to do back then.

“I’d throw him seven pitches, and I would have to replace five of them because he’d hit them over the 385-foot mark,” coach Sayers said. “I knew right away that when he came down that hill, that this kid was going to wind up in the big leagues — there was no doubt in my mind.” 

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