Rickey Henderson, Jim Rice and Joe Gordon were enshrined in front of 21,000 fans on Sunday, July 26, 2009 as 49 Hall of Famers returned to Cooperstown to welcome the 2009 electees. Tony Kubek, former NBC, Yankees and Blue Jays analyst, was honored with the Ford C. Frick Award and Nick Peters, who covered the San Francisco Giants during four decades, was honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award.
RICKEY HENDERSON: Rickey Henderson became the 44th player elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America on his first time on the ballot when he earned 94.8 percent of the vote on Jan. 12. Henderson's percentage is the 13th-highest in Hall of Fame history. Henderson is baseball's all-time runs scored leader (2,295) and all-time stolen base king (1,406). He ranks second on the all-time walks list with 2,190, and Henderson leads among unintentional walkers with 2,129 bases on balls. Henderson played 25 seasons (only four players have played more) for nine franchises (1979-2003), earning 10 All-Star Game selections and one Gold Glove in left field. He was the 1990 American League Most Valuable Player and won World Series rings with the Athletics in 1989 and the Blue Jays in 1993. He holds the single-season MLB record for stolen bases with 130 in 1982. Henderson's likeness will feature an Athletics cap on his Hall of Fame plaque, and all nine teams Henderson played for will be included on the plaque.
JIM RICE: Jim Rice was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers' Association of America in his 15th-and-final try on that ballot on Jan. 12. Rice received 76.4 percent of the vote - seven votes more than necessary. Rice played his entire 16-year big league career with the Boston Red Sox (1974-89). He helped lead the Red Sox to the AL pennant in his rookie season of 1975, finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting to teammate Fred Lynn and third in the MVP voting. An eight-time All-Star, Rice peaked in 1978 when he was named the American League Most Valuable Player after hitting 46 home runs and driving in 139 runs. From 1977-79, Rice became the only player in big league history to record at least 35 home runs, 100 RBIs and 200 hits for three consecutive years. He finished his career with 382 home runs and 1,451 RBIs.
JOE GORDON: The pre-1943 Veterans Committee elected former Yankees and Indians second baseman Joe Gordon to the Hall of Fame on Dec. 8. Gordon, a nine-time All-Star and a member of five World Series winning teams, received 10 of 12 votes from the Veterans Committee. Gordon won the 1942 American League Most Valuable Player Award after hitting .322 with 103 RBIs while leading the Yankees to the American League pennant. Gordon and the Yankees won the AL flag in five of his first six seasons, and won World Series titles in four of those years. Traded to Cleveland after the 1946 season, Gordon led the Indians to the 1948 World Series title by hitting 32 home runs and driving in 120 runs. Gordon passed away in 1978.