Happy 59th Birthday to Hall of Fame Red Sox outfielder Jim Rice. Born in Anderson, South Carolina on March 8th, 1953, Rice played all 15 seasons of his professional career with the Boston Red Sox. Rice’s first full season with the Red Sox was a big one. He was promoted full time from AAA Pawtucket in 1975 with fellow Red Sox legend Fred Lynn, where the two became cornerstones of the Red Sox outfield for six seasons. The two would earn the nickname the “Gold Dust Twins” for their Gold Glove caliber defense and unparalleled speed in the outfield. Rice would go on to finish 2nd in the American League MVP and Rookie of the Year voting (Rice would win both despite missing the playoffs with a broken wrist).
Rice led the Red Sox to a World Series appearance in 1975, while hitting .309, knocking in 102 runs and scoring 92 more runs. While being recognized as a terrific finesse defender in the outfield, Rice also hit for power at the plate and would lead the ’75 Red Sox with 22 home runs. Over the course of his career, Rice would lead the league in home runs three times (’77, ’78 & ’83), winning a Silver Slugger award twice (’83 & ’84) and win the American League MVP in 1978. Rice was inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 26th, 2009, and his number # 14 jersey was retired by the Red Sox two days later. Happy Birthday Jim.