Rice recently unloaded on today's baseball stars before some Little Leaguers:
You see a Manny Ramirez, you see an A-Rod, you see Jeter … Guys that I played against and with, these guys you’re talking about cannot compare. We didn’t have the baggy uniforms. We didn’t have the dreadlocks. It was a clean game, and now they’re setting a bad example for the young guys.
So his era's game was a 'clean game'? Hmmm....Has Rice not heard of "greenies"?
He understandably singled out A-Rod and Manny Ramirez for bad behavior (no complaints here), but Derek Jeter? Jeter, arguably having the best year of his career at age 35, is a throwback who 'plays the game as it should be played', unlike slacker Manny and juiced-up, me-first A-Rod. To lump Jeter in with people like A-Rod and Manny shows that Rice has been living in a cave lo these past 15 years. Or, as Barney Frank might ask, "On what planet do you spend most of your time?"
Rice now claims he was misquoted about Jeter.
He also went on to complain about today's players in general:
What you see right now is more individuals, it's not a team. Now you have guys coming in, they pick the days they want to play, they make big money. The first thing they see are dollar bills.
Wonder what he'd think about guys like Albert Pujols, Chipper Jones, Miguel Cabrera, Ken Griffey, Jr., Joe Mauer, David Wright, Todd Helton, Prince Fielder, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Evan Longoria, et al? Slackers all, who could not stack up to Rice and his contemporaries!
It's odd that Rice spoke about ballplayers being bad examples. When he played, Rice had the reputation as a surly, insular guy who was antagonistic towards the press (the likely reason he waited so long for the HOF). In fairness to Rice, being an African-American baseball player in Boston 30 years ago could not have been a picnic, especially when he played on the same team as "All-American" boy Fred Lynn, who won both the MVP and Rookie-of-the-Year awards in 1975, also Rice's rookie year.
Jim, you were a great ballplayer - third in a line of great Boston HOF left fielders (Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski preceded him) - but whining and bitterness are so unbecoming to a Hall of Famer.
"Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact." -- George Eliot
“Yes, in my 27 years in the big leagues, he is probably the classiest person I’ve been around.” -- umpire John Hirschbeck, speaking of Derek Jeter