Henderson, Rice Headed to Cooperstown

Prototype leadoff hitter elected to Baseball Hall on first try; Rice gets in on last try
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2009 2:00 PM CST
Rickey Henderson holds up a commemorative home plate after he scored his 2,246 career run, setting the all-time record.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, MLB reports today. Henderson, often cited as the best leadoff hitter ever, was considered a shoe-in, and captured 94.8% of votes in his first year on the ballot. Rice, a Boston stalwart, squeaked in with 76.4% of the vote in his final year of eligibility. The cutoff is 75%.

Both played left field, Rice with Boston his entire 16 seasons, Henderson with nine teams in a 25-year run. Henderson’s career steals record is virtually untouchable; no one has come within 20 bases of his 1982 single-season record of 130. Notable losers this year include outfielder Andre Dawson, with 67% in his 8th year of eligibility, and pitcher Burt Blyleven, with 62.7% in his 12th.