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Rickey Henderson

Rickey Henderson

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Sunday, July 26, 2009Henderson, Rice enter Hall of FameCooperstown, NY (Sports Network) - Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday.

Henderson, who played for nine different teams in a 25-year career from 1979 through 2003, is the all-time leader in runs scored and stolen bases.

Rice was among the most feared hitters during his prime in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the Boston Red Sox.

Henderson's career included four separate stints with the Oakland Athletics.

He also played for the New York Yankees, Toronto, San Diego, Anaheim, the New York Mets, Seattle, Boston and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I love the game of baseball.

That's why it was so hard for me to walk away from the game," Henderson said.

"I thought if Satchel Paige can start playing major league baseball at the age of 45, then with my dedication, hard work and desire, I can play the game until my body said it was time to hang it up." Considered by many as the top leadoff hitter in baseball history, Henderson scored 2,295 runs and finished with 1,406 stolen bases.

He had 3,055 career hits, including 297 home runs, and hit 81 homers leading off a game to set a record.

His 130 stolen bases for Oakland in 1982 is still the big league benchmark.

"It is an honor to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame," Henderson added, "and have my name next to players like Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig, Roberto Clemente and the list goes on and on." Henderson, a career .279 hitter with an on-base percentage of .401, was a member of two World Series title teams -- in 1989 with Oakland and 1993 with Toronto.

He was the 1990 AL MVP with the Athletics and was selected for the All-Star Game 10 times.

Rice was the AL MVP in 1978 when he batted .315 and led the league with 46 home runs, 139 runs batted in, 213 hits, 15 triples and an astounding 406 total bases.

An eight-time All-Star selection, he was a career .298 hitter with 382 home runs and 1,451 runs batted in over 16 big league seasons from 1974-89.

"I am Jim Rice, called a baseball Hall of Famer," Rice said.

"You always feel that after every great once in a lifetime moment, there cannot be anything else that can top it...After 15 years (of eligibility), you get a phone call you thought you'd never get.

The tears overflow because you know that the highest honor of your career means more than you ever thought it'd mean before." Three times Rice led the American League in home runs and twice led the circuit in runs batted in.

He reached the 200-hit plateau four times.

"To me, it doesn't matter that I got called this year as opposed to my first year," Rice said.

"What matters is that I got it.

20 years from now, it'll make a great trivia question.

I am in awe to be in this elite company and humbled to be accepting this honor.

I'm also one of the few players that spent an entire career with the same baseball team.

For that, I thank the Boston Red Sox, a professional baseball club for which any player would be proud to spend a career." Henderson became the 44th player elected in his first year of eligibility, while Rice became the third player elected by the writers in his final year on the ballot.

Joining Henderson and Rice for enshrinement was Veterans Committee electee Joe Gordon, Ford C.

Frick winner for broadcasting contributions Tony Kubek and J.G.

Taylor Spink winner for writing Nick Peters.
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