Congrats to Ricky Henderson on his Hall of Fame selection (but who were those 28 tools who didn't vote for him?). I'm not so enthused with the election of Jim Rice, though.
I'm of the when-in-doubt-leave-'em-out mindset. Even in the Boston Globe's pro-Rice coverage today, there's no getting around the fence-sitting. Bob Ryan calls Rice, "Mr. Borderline." In another story, Thomas Boswell is quoted as saying if he had a vote he'd give it to Rice, but that "If Rice doesn't make it, it won't be a huge injustice." If you look at a player, and say, "yeah, maybe," then he doesn't derserve a Hall pass.
Rice supporters continually fall back on the completely anecdotal "most feared hitter of his era" argument. Hogwash. Compare the intentional walks of Rice with likes of Mike schmidt, George Brett, Dave Parker, Dale Murphy, etc. Granted, that's an imperfect measure of opponents' "fear," but it should mean something. What's more, he led the AL in grounding into double plays four times.
Rice was a very good player. A very good player. But he's not a Hall of Famer (product of Fenway, not great stats, short career). It exercises me because it lowers the bar. In fact, who are the 51 writers who voted for Rice but not Andre Dawson? Dawson has better stats, stole bases (314) and played defense (eight Gold Gloves). If you are going to vote for Rice, you have to vote for Dawson. And that's going to become the standard: Does Joe Player deserve induction? Well, Jim Rice is in.
And the more the bar is lowered, the less meaning it holds.
Oh, and one more thing. If you didn't vote for Ricky Henderson, you should lose your vote.