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Jim Rice, Rickey Henderson voted into Hall of Fame

Associated Press

Rickey Henderson dashed into the Hall of Fame on his first try. Jim Rice made it with a final swing.

Henderson, who played 25 seasons, received 94.8% of the vote from the Baseball Writers’ Assn. of America in balloting announced Monday, well above the 75% needed.

Rice got 76.4% in his 15th and final year on the ballot.

“The only thing I can say is I’m glad it’s over with,” Rice said. “I’m in there and they can’t take it away.”

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Henderson, baseball’s career leader in runs and stolen bases, 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 in 1967 and Ralph Kiner in 1975.

Henderson and Rice will be inducted into the Hall during ceremonies July 26 in Cooperstown, N.Y. They’ll be joined by former New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians second baseman Joe Gordon, elected posthumously last month by the Veterans Committee.

“It’s really just an honor to me. I’m really just spaced out,” Henderson said. “I haven’t really thought about what I’m going to say.”

Henderson was picked on 511 of 539 ballots, Rice on 412, just above the 405 needed.

Some believed Rice’s prickly personality and curt relationship with reporters during his playing career helped keep him out of the Hall all those years.

“I don’t think I was difficult to deal with for writers. I think the writers were difficult to me,” he said. “I wasn’t going to bad-mouth my teammates. When you start talking about my teammates or what goes on outside baseball, I couldn’t do that.”

Andre Dawson fell 44 votes short with 67% and Mark McGwire, rumored to have used performance-enhancing drugs, received 118 votes (21.9%) in his third year of eligibility, down from the 128 votes he got in each of his first two tries.

Henderson, the 1990 American League most valuable player, was a 10-time All-Star who stole 1,406 bases. He batted .279 with 297 home runs, 1,115 runs batted in, 2,190 walks and 2,295 runs. He owns the modern-day season record with 130 steals in 1982, and the career mark with 81 leadoff homers. He played for Oakland, the New York Yankees, Toronto, San Diego, the Angels, the New York Mets, Seattle, Boston and the Dodgers.

Rice, the 1978 AL MVP, was an eight-time All-Star who hit 382 homers in 16 seasons with Boston from 1974 to 1989. He had a .298 career batting average and 1,451 RBIs, and from 1977 to 1979 averaged .320 with 41 homers and 128 RBIs.

He is the fourth Hall of Fame member to have spent his entire career with the Red Sox, joining Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski and Bobby Doerr.

Etc.

Closer Jose Valverde and the Houston Astros agreed to a one-year, $8-million contract. The right-hander led the National League with 44 saves last season and was 6-3 with a 3.38 earned-run average. . . . Shortstop J.J. Hardy and the Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a one-year, $4.65-million contract. Hardy batted .283 with 24 home runs and 74 RBIs last season. He was an All-Star in 2007. . . . Kelly Shoppach and the Cleveland Indians agreed to a one-year, $1.95-million contract. Shoppach led AL catchers last season with 21 home runs and batted .261 with 55 RBIs. . . . Outfielder Gabe Kapler and the Tampa Bay Rays agreed to a one-year, $1-million contract. He batted .301 with eight homers and 38 RBIs in 96 games with the Brewers last season. . . . Pitcher Tim Redding completed a one-year, $2.25-million deal with the New York Mets. Redding was 10-11 with a 4.95 ERA for the Washington Nationals last season.


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