An interesting question was raised to Jim Rice at Friday's Granite State Baseball Dinner. Rice, who this summer was inducted into the the baseball Hall of Fame, was asked who he thought on the current Red Sox team has potential to be the next Sox Hall of Famer.
Rice's answer was a surprising one: Jacoby Ellsbury.When the question was asked, I thought about how I would answer it. I ran through the options in my head: Jason Varitek? No. Mike Lowell? No. Kevin Youkilis? That'd be tough. While Rice tried to figure out the best answer, I came to the conclusion of Jonathan Papelbon. I figured with the pace he is on, Papelbon could be a Hall of Famer. He'd have to pitch for many more years of course, but as of right now it's looking good for him.
Dustin Pedroia is another good choice, but we've only seen three full seasons out of him.
This all went through my mind, then Rice blurted out "Jacoby."
I like Jacoby. I've defended him a lot before on this blog even though I wouldn't say I'm his biggest fan either. I think he does a lot of things well, but his on-base percentage (lifetime .350, mind you) usually always gets the spotlight because he's the Sox's leadoff man.
But Hall of Fame potential, Jim? Really?
Pedroia and Ellsbury are similar players because they're both young. Pedroia has one more full season on Ellsbury, but more importantly two big awards: AL Rookie of the Year and that thing they called an MVP. I'm not sure how much merit it holds, but yeah, I think it's kind of important.
Ellsbury is a solid all-around player, but even in his two full seasons he hasn't shown stats that could indicate that with 12-15 more similar years that he'd be Hall of Fame material. Actually, if he continued to do this for 12 years, I think we'd be a little disappointed. While I don't think Ellsbury was bad this season, I think he has potential to be much better.
Pedroia, on the other hand, is arguably the best second baseman in the American League, with both the bat and the glove. No mention from Rice? It's hard to believe. Maybe he was just thinking about outfielders, like himself. But I thought even Papelbon would get a mention from Rice.
(Oh, I forgot to mention that Papelbon's younger brothers -- Jeremy and Josh -- were sitting two tables down from Rice. Still no mention?)
I'm going to give Rice a mulligan on this one, but he needs to re-answer and think long and hard about a better choice. I'm willing to look over this.
What do you think? Who on the current Red Sox roster may be in the Hall of Fame one day? Any pitchers that stand out? And no, 'former' players do not count (I know what you're thinking already. That guy we signed in the offseason to save our season that dominated in the National League. But NO, you can not answer Brad Penny).