November 22, 1901|
Ware Station, Illinois
|Died: January 1, 1971
|April 18, 1923, for the St. Louis Browns|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 1, 1933, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Runs batted in||501|
Harry Francis Rice (or Ricey collq.) (November 22, 1901 – January 1, 1971), was an outfielder for the St. Louis Browns (1923–27), Detroit Tigers (1928–30), New York Yankees (1930), Washington Senators (1931) and Cincinnati Reds (1933).
Although he had considerable success in Major League Baseball and even shared the New York Yankees outfield with Babe Ruth and Earle Combs, a pair of future Hall of Famers, during the 1930 season, Rice's origins remain a bit of a puzzle. Baseball web sites list his home town as Ware Station, Illinois, a city that does not exist, and that he attended Mound City High School in Mound City, Illinois, but there is no record of a school in that community known by that name.
Rice made his big-league debut on April 18, 1923. His batting average of .359 for the Browns in 1925 was the sixth-best in the American League that season, and Rice placed fifth in the voting for the league's Most Valuable Player.
He enjoyed another good season in 1926, ending it with a .313 average and a career-best 181 hits.
After a trade to Detroit, he was traded again on May 30, 1930 with two other players for a pair of well-known New York Yankee stars, infielder Mark Koenig and pitcher Waite Hoyt. It turned out to be Rice's only year as a Yankee. He appeared in 100 games, batting .298 in a lineup that included Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The team nevertheless did not win the American League pennant that season, finishing in third place.
A year later, Rice was involved in a play that cost Gehrig a home run in the record books. With a runner on base, Gehrig homered to center field. The ball caromed back so quickly to Rice, playing the outfield for the Washington Senators, that the runner, Lyn Lary, ahead of Gehrig mistakenly thought Rice had caught it. Lary ran to the dugout instead of crossing home plate. Gehrig was awarded a triple instead of a home run.
Over 10 seasons, Rice's statistics were: 1,034 Games, 3,740 At Bats, 620 Runs, 1,118 Hits, 186 Doubles, 63 Triples, 48 Home Runs, 501 RBI, 59 Stolen Bases, 376 Walks, .299 Batting Average, .368 On-base percentage, .421 Slugging Percentage, 1,574 Total Bases and 99 Sacrifice Hits.
He died in Portland, Oregon at the age of 69.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
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