Jim Rice is on the podium at the moment, waxing on about his career and today's induction. "When I played," he said, "we were men."
We'll get to more of Rice's thoughts in a moment, including his fascinating take on on-base percentage as it relates to his career. For now, here are what some of those men feel about his induction to the Hall of Fame:
Bobby Doerr: "He was consistent, and he was always a threat. Anytime a guy can hit the long ball like he did, he drove in the runs. He was a tough hitter and he played a good outfield. I think he should have been in a long time ago."
Dennis Eckersley: "As a player, when I played with Jimmy, I thought it was his best year, which was 1978. It was the most dynamic offensive year that I have ever played with anybody. His acceptance to the Hall is long overdue. As a person, he was a consistent guy. He was always there, every day as a person and every day as a player."
Carl Yastrzemski: "Congratulations to Jimmy on his election to the Hall of Fame. It was long overdue. He was a great teammate and a friend. I'm looking forward to his induction in July. I can only hope the day will come when Dwight Evans and Luis Tiant will also join us in Cooperstown."
Dwight Evans: "Jim Rice richly deserves to be elected to the Hall of Fame. He was the consummate team player, and he led by example. I'm proud to have played with him for 16 years."
Butch Hobson: "It's only fitting, in my opinion, for Jim Rice to be in the Hall of Fame. He's a gentleman in the game of baseball. He always has been. He always went about his day approaching the game of baseball with a mission. I know that his goal in the game of baseball was to one day be in the Hall of Fame. I think he has the numbers. He definitely has the credibility. Jimmy was a quiet gentleman. He's somebody that I feel honored to have had the opportunity to play with. When you were a teammate of Jim Rice, you became his brother. I'm just so happy for him."