#Shortstops: Rice fed Red Sox’s fans dreams
Six weeks after making his major league debut with the Boston Red Sox, on Oct. 1, 1974, Jim Rice hit his first major league home run.
Batting out of the No. 5 hole as Boston’s designated hitter, Rice helped the Red Sox defeat the Cleveland Indians 7-4. The following year, Rice took on the role of the team's starting left fielder. Nicknamed the “Gold Dust Twins,” Rice and teammate Fred Lynn would compete for the American League Rookie of the Year Award with two of the greatest freshman seasons in history.
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Rice hit 22 home runs for the season, leading the Red Sox, and posted a .309 batting average while Lynn had 21 home runs and a .331 batting average. The duo helped lead the Red Sox to a World Series appearance. Unfortunately, Rice’ season was cut short when he was hit by a pitch and broke his hand, forcing him to watch the playoffs from the bench. Following the injury, his performance fell off in 1976, but by 1977 he had bounced back and led the league in total bases, home runs and slugging average.