Numbers 7 & 8 on the All-Time(?) list

First off, a special thanks to  Someone there posted a link to my Johnny Damon rant, and that resulted in quite a few visits here today.  <Red Sox Chick waves ‘hello’ to all the looky-loos, but now she’s going back to regularly scheduled programing.>

Back to my top ten list.

Legends_rice_1 8.  Jim Rice.  I mean seriously.  The man dominated the game for the majority of the time he played.  I’ve blogged more than once here about how I think he should be in the Hall of Fame.  He’s more than deserving.  There was more to him than just a great player.  The media didn’t like him much because he didn’t have any use for them…but the fans loved (and still love) him.  When Jim Rice came up to bat at a crucial point in any game, Red Sox fans were confident he’d do us proud.  And very rarely did he disappoint.  My favorite Jim Rice story is oft-repeated, so indulge me as I join the ranks of the storytellers.  In the early 80s a four year old boy in the stands was hit in the head by a Dave Stapleton foul ball.  Before the Red Sox trainer could leave the dugout and get to the boy, Jim Rice passed him, jumped into the stands and grabbed the boy and carried him into the dugout and then to the clubhouse.  Maybe it doesn’t seem like much, but it was to the little boy and his family.  And it was to the fans who saw him do it.  During his career, Rice was  never involved in any scandals.  To this day he is a respected icon, beloved by the fan base he spent so many years playing in front of.  In spite of the media, he’s loved by the fans…and has a love for his fans.  I wish he was still working with the team instead of doing commentary on NESN’s pre and post game shows…but I’ll take what I can get.  I’m glad Jim Ed is still ‘one of us’.

1099069727_3431 7. Ellis Burks.  His was the first ‘rookie’ card I ever got.  The year he was a rookie, not through eBay like I get them now.  🙂  I kept it from 1987 until it was lost in a house fire in 2002.  His first six seasons in the bigs, and with the Sox, he showed huge potential.  Three of those years he hovered just under or just over .300.  He won 2 Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers and he was a two-time All-Star.  He was a solid player his entire career, but never became a "superstar".  Until 2004.  In 2004, he returned to Boston for what everyone knew would be his last season as an active player.  He didn’t play much, but the entire team would tell anyone listening how he was important to them.  He helped the younger guys, supported the guys going through slumps.  He was pretty much another coach in the dugout and the guys all loved him.  (If you watch the extras on teh dvds of the 2004 season you’ll see Mike Timlin and Alan Embree discussing how they want to win it all for Ellis so they can "see him cry".)  I was at the last game of the regular season at Fenway in 2004…Yankees were in town.  Middle of the 8th inning, when "Sweet Caroline" was playing, they showed a retrospective of Ellis on the scoreboard and announced it is probably his last game at Fenway (since he wouldn’t be on the post-season rosters).  Normally, all 35,000 plus fans in Fenway are singing along with Neil Diamond, but not this Sunday.  THIS Sunday, the 35,000 plus fans were chanting "We want Ellis!".  Ellis finally came out of the dugout to tip his hat to us and the crowd went wild.  I cried, as did many in my section.  This was the next game to be added to my favorite baseball moments list.  JUST missed the cut.  I was sad that Ellis didn’t come back the following season in some coaching capacity…but I’ll always be thankful that he was on THE team that won it all.

More to come, for those interested.  🙂

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