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Henderson and Rice enter Hall of Fame

JIM Rice had to wait 15 years before completing an everlasting Fenway Park triple by joining fellow Boston Red Sox left-fielders Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski in the Hall of Fame.

"I think when you talk about my legacy, you have to look at the two guys before me," Rice said on Tuesday. "You have to look at Williams and Yaz, and then I'm the third one. You're talking about three guys that played their entire careers with one ballclub. That's the legacy that I'm looking at."

Rice will be joined in this summer's induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, New York, by Rickey Henderson, arguably Major League Baseball's greatest leadoff hitter.

Henderson, the all-time leader in stolen bases and runs scored who played for nine different teams in a 25-season career, was welcomed into the Hall in his first year of eligibility. Rice was kept waiting until his 15th and final year of eligibility in voting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Rice, a right-handed power hitter, said the towering, Green Monster wall in left-field at Fenway Park both helped and hurt him during his 16-season career in Boston.

"The Monster gave me some, but it took a lot away," Rice said. "I was more of a right-field hitter. The wall was good for left-handed hitters."

American League MVP in 1978, Rice belted 382 home runs and drove in 1,451 runs in his career but said he had to work hard on his defense at Fenway.

"I had to go out there and really learn to play the wall," said Rice, adding that he appreciated how Yastrzemski graciously shifted to first base to allow him to join the regal succession of slugging left-fielders in Boston. "My hat goes off to Carl Yastrzemski, because if Yaz had (said) at the time, 'I'm still playing left-field, I don't want to play first base', I would have been sitting on the bench ... Yaz came out in left-field and said 'Jimmy, I'm going to show you how to play left-field.'"


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