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Sam Rice Photo   Sam Rice
Sam Rice may have overcome more personal tragedy than any other Hall of Famer when his entire family (parents, wife, and children) was killed by a tornado in Illinois in 1912.

Full Name: Edgar Charles Rice
 
Physique: 5' 9", 127 lbs
Left-Handed Hitter
 
Born: Feb 20, 1890, Morocco, IN
Died: Oct 13, 1974  (84 years old)
 
Ranking: #30 All-time ( #29    All    #31 )
.322
career average

2,987 hits

Washington Senators
1917 - 1934

Hall of Fame: 1963



Rice entered the major leagues as a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher with the Washington Senators at the end of the 1915 season and was in the starting rotation the following year. He was originally called "Ed," but one day a sportswriter forgot his name and called him "Sam." For some reason, the new name stuck for the rest of his career.



He wasn't particularly successful as a pitcher, but his left-handed hitting was impressive and he was moved to the outfield for the second half of the season. In 1917, his first full year as an outfielder, he batted .302.



Rice spent most of 1918 in the Army, appearing in just 7 games, but he returned to the Senators to bat .321 in 1919, .338 in 1920, and .330 in 1921. He led the league with 63 stolen bases in 1920, winning another nickname, "Man o' War," after the famous race horse.



He slipped to .295 in 1922, but batted .316 and led the league with 18 triples the following season, and had a league-leading 216 hits in 1924, when he batted .334. Despite career highs of 227 hits and a .350 average in 1925, Rice failed to lead the league in either category, but his 216 hits was tops in 1926 and he set an AL record with 182 singles.



Now thirty-seven years old, Rice seemed to be in decline when he batted only .297 in 1927. However, he had averages of .328, .323, .349, .310, and .323 during the next five seasons and, as a part-time player in 1933, he batted .294. He finished his career with the Cleveland Indians in 1934.



The Washington Senators won only three pennants in their history, and Rice was on all three of the teams. He batted only .207 when the Senators beat the New York Giants in seven games in 1924, but he had a .364 average in 1925, collecting 12 hits, a World Series record for 39 years. The Senators lost in seven games to the Pittsburgh Pirates.



Rice was involved in one of the most controversial plays in baseball history during that series. The Senators were winning 3-1 in the eighth inning of the third game when Earl Smith of Pittsburgh hit a long drive to center field. Rice raced back, leaped, and fell into the stands. He was out of sight for nearly fifteen seconds before finally emerging with the ball. The umpires ruled it a catch and the Senators won the game.



For the rest of his life, Rice was asked about the play. His answer was always, "The umpire said I caught it." He gave the Baseball Hall of Fame a sealed letter, opened after his death, that stated that he had made the catch and said, "At no time did I lose possession of the ball."



http://www.hickoksports.com/biograph/ricesam.shtml


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