Rice's play declined sharply in his final three seasons. In 1987, he batted .277 with 13 homers. In '88, he hit 15 homers but his average fell to .264. In his final season, '89, he hit just three homers -- all before the end of April -- and finished with a .234 average in 56 games. The belief has long been held that if Rice had retained his prime-of-career skills just a little longer, he would have been inducted into the Hall of Fame much sooner.
Globe Staff Photo / Suzanna Kreiter