Having an eye-witness viewpoint (Bostonian and a RS fan's view fan at Fenway) view of Rice, his election certainly wasn't about JUST the statistical glimpse that got him FINALLY in the HOF. However for a 5-yr-period, it appears that he dominated the competition. He struck fear in the hearts of the oppsoing pitchers, particualry at Fenway where he was deadly.
He was 56th in all time RBI with 1,451 career RBI
Some of his other offensive stats -- the quality could be debated in relation to other comparable offensive players not in the hall as of yet.
For example ...
"Rice, lauded for his power production, in reality was only average (in comaprison to other power hitters) in this department. His .502 slugging percentage, .854 OPS, and 128 OPS+ testify to this assessment much more accurately than the remembrance of those who saw him in action.
Sure, his 1,451 career RBI total is very good total " 56th all time " but even that number leaves him well short of deservedly snubbed Hall candidates Andre Dawson (1591) and Harold Baines (1628) and 15 short of non-Hall of Famer Rusy Staub, who also had a higher OBP than Rice in a dominate pitchers era."
I say allow Dawson and Staub in HOF too. Not so sure about Baines.
We need to acknowledge that era was pitcher-dominated.
He often gets a bad rap because baseball writers disliked him because of their ongoing feud. He didn't grant interviews. He often could appear surly and aloof in public. One-on-one, he was a real decent guy, and as an example, his legenday concern for an injured young fan's safety (skull fracture induced by hit ball at park) is what heroic movies are made of.
However, on the larger issue of: Can the HOF be heading towards being considered the “Hall of Very Good.” It could be argued that this 'watering down' of HOF alumni might be already happening.
And, with the possibility of the coming HOF graduating class with this last 10 yrs of steroid era looming as to whom gets inducted, the field of legit HOFers could be narrowed down to a handful. Thus allowing the likes of Dawson, Staub et al ...a free pass, should they still be eligible.