NEW YORK – Rickey Henderson sped his way into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot Monday, and Jim Rice made it in on his 15th and final try. Henderson, baseball's career leader in runs scored and stolen bases, received 94.8 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers' Association of America, well above the 75 percent needed.
In this Oct. 4, 2001 file photo, San Diego Padres' Rickey Henderson sports a big smile at a news conference following the Padres' 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in San Diego. Henderson scored his 2,246 career run on a solo home run in the third inning of the game, breaking the all-time mark he shared with Ty Cobb. Henderson and Jim Rice were elected to the baseball Hall of Fame Monday Jan. 12, 2009.
(AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
Rice, among baseball's most feared hitters in the late 1970s and early 1980s, got 76.4 percent of the vote after falling just shy with 72.2 percent last year.
Henderson became the 44th player elected in his first year of eligibility. Rice was only the third elected by the BBWAA in his final year, joining Red Ruffing (1967) and Ralph Kiner (1975).
The pair will be inducted into the Hall during ceremonies on July 26 in Cooperstown, N.Y. They will be joined by former Yankees and Indians second baseman Joe Gordon, elected posthumously last month by the Veterans Committee.
Henderson was picked on 511 of 539 ballots and Rice was selected on 412, just more than the 405 needed.
Rice received only 29.8 percent of the vote in 1995, when he appeared on the ballot for the first time. He topped 50 percent for the first time in 2000 and reached 64.8 percent in 2006 — the highest percentage for a player who wasn't elected in a later year was 63.4 by Gil Hodges in 1983, his final time on the ballot.
Andre Dawson fell 44 votes short with 67 percent. He was followed by Bert Blyleven (62.7 percent), Lee Smith (44.5), Jack Morris (44.0), Tommy John (31.7) and Tim Raines (22.6). John appeared on the ballot for the final time.
Mark McGwire, stigmatized by accusations he used performance-enhancing drugs, received 118 votes (21.9 percent) in his third year of eligibility, down from the 128 votes he got in each of his first two tries.
Henderson, the 1990 AL MVP, was a 10-time All-Star who swiped 1,406 bases, just one shy of 50 percent more than Lou Brock, who is in second place with 938. Henderson batted .279 with 297 homers, 1,115 RBIs, 2,190 walks and 2,295 runs. He owns the modern-day, single-season record with 130 steals in 1982, and the career mark with 81 leadoff homers. He played 25 seasons for Oakland, the Yankees, Toronto, San Diego, Anaheim, the Mets, Seattle, Boston and the Dodgers.
Rice, the 1978 AL MVP, was an eight-time All-Star who hit 382 home runs in 16 seasons with the Boston Red Sox from 1974-89. He had a .298 career batting average and 1,451 RBIs, and from 1977-79 averaged .320 with 41 homers and 128 RBIs.