Sam Rice

Edgar Charles Rice
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1963
Primary team: Washington Senators
Primary position: Right Fielder

Sam Rice didn’t enter the majors until he was 25 years old. He started in the big leagues as a pitcher and developed into a great hitter, with a .322 lifetime average, 2,987 total hits and six seasons with more than 200 hits.

The right fielder batted .299 in his first season and batted over .300 14 times during his 20-year career. Rice was a part of the only three Washington Senators teams that ever won pennants and he holds the franchise records for hits, doubles, triples and runs scored.

In 1920, Rice had 454 putouts, good for the American League record at the time. He led the league in putouts twice and in assists once, and was among the league leaders numerous times. He also topped the circuit in 1920 with 63 stolen bases and was ranked among the top five in that category for eight consecutive seasons.

Rice led the AL in hits in 1924, helping the Senators to their first pennant. They beat the New York Giants to become World Series champions. The following season, Washington once again won the pennant, but lost the Fall Classic in seven games. In that Series, Rice had a .364 average, 12 hits, five runs and three RBI. He had career highs in 1925 in batting average (.350) and hits (227), while scoring 111 runs. Rice had 87 RBI and his 182 singles were a league record until more than half a century later.

Despite his success in the 1925 World Series, he is best remembered for one of the most disputed plays of all time. Rice fell into the stands going after a fly ball, and went out of view. When he emerged with the ball in his glove the umpire called the batter out. He was often asked about the play and generally refused to answer or give any specifics. He wrote a letter to the Hall of Fame about the catch that he requested remain sealed until his death. “I remember trotting back towards the infield carrying the ball for about halfway and then tossed it towards the pitcher’s mound (how I wished many times I had kept it),” Rice wrote. “At no time did I lose possession of the ball.”

Nearing the end of his career in 1934, Rice signed with Cleveland. In total, he played 543 games over age 40, hitting .321. He retired just 13 hits shy of the 3,000-mark.

"In personality, Rice is a great deal like Charlie Gehringer, steady, quiet durable, and consistent. "
Lee Allen

Career stats

Year Inducted: 1963
Primary Team: Washington Senators
Position Played: Right Fielder
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Birth place: Morocco, Indiana
Birth year: 1890
Died: 1974, Rossmor, Maryland
Played for:
Washington Senators (1915-1933)
Cleveland Indians (1934)
At BatsAB
Home RunsHR
Stolen BasesSB
Batting AverageBA
On Base %OBP
Slugging %SLG