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Sam Rice

Born: February 20, 1890
Morocco, Indiana
Died: October 13, 1974 (aged 84)
Rossmoor, Maryland
Batted: Left Threw: Right 
MLB debut
August 7, 1915 for the Washington Senators
Last MLB appearance
September 18, 1934 for the Cleveland Indians
Career statistics
Batting average     .322
Hits     2,987
Runs batted in     1,078
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction     1963
Election Method     Veteran's Committee

Edgar Charles "Sam" Rice (February 20, 1890 - October 13, 1974) was an American right fielder in Major League Baseball. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1963.

Although Rice made his debut as a relief pitcher, he is best known as an outfielder. Playing for the Washington Senators from 1915 until 1933, he was regularly among the American League leaders in runs scored, hits, stolen bases and batting average. He led the Senators to three postseasons and a World Series championship in 1924. He batted left-handed, but threw right-handed.

Rice, a left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, stood erect at the plate and used quick wrists to slash pitches to all fields. He never swung at the first pitch and seldom fanned, once completing a 616-at-bat season with nine strikeouts. As the ultimate contact man with the picture-perfect swing, Rice was never a home run threat. But blazing speed turned singles into doubles and his 1920 stolen base total of 63 earned him the timely nickname "Man o' War".

Rice played his final year, 1934, for the Cleveland Indians.

Sam Rice is interred in Woodside Cemetery in Brinklow, Maryland.


Career statistics

See:Career Statistics for a complete explanation.

2,404 9,269 2987 498 184 34 1,514 1,078 708 275 .322 .374 .427


The catch

The most famous moment in Sam Rice's career came in defense. During game three of the 1925 World Series, the Senators were leading the game 4-3. In the bottom of the 8th inning, Sam Rice was moved from center field to right field. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Earl Smith drove a ball to right-center field. Rice ran down the ball and appeared to catch the ball at the fence, potentially robbing Smith of a home run that would have tied the game. After the catch, Rice toppled over the top of the fence and into the stands, disappearing out of sight. When Rice reappeared, he had the ball in his glove and the umpire called the batter out. The umpire explained the as soon as the catch was made the play was over, it did not matter where Sam Rice ended up.

This caused great controversy on whether Rice actually caught the ball and whether he kept possession of the ball the entire time. Rice himself would not tell, only answering: "The umpire called him out," when asked. Magazines offered to pay him for the story, but Rice turned them down, saying: "I don't need the money. The mystery is more fun." He would not even tell his wife or his daughter.

The controversy became so great that Rice wrote a letter to be opened upon his death. After Sam died, the letter was opened and it contained Rice's account of what happened. At the end of the letter, he wrote: "At no time did I lose possession of the ball."

His team ultimately lost the Series, in seven games.

Early life

Rice grew up in various towns near Morocco, Indiana, on the Indiana-Illinois border, and considered Watseka, Illinois, his hometown. In 1912, as he played with a minor-league baseball team in Galesburg, Illinois, Rice's wife, two children, mother, siblings, and a farmhand were all killed in a tornado that swept through Morocco. Rice's father Charles eventually succumbed to his storm-related wounds.

Rice left the area shortly afterward, working various odd jobs and eventually joining the United States Navy and fighting in the ill-fated United States occupation of Veracruz, Mexico.

See also


  1. ^ Sam Rice Stats at

External links

Preceded by
Eddie Collins
American League Stolen Base Champion
Succeeded by
George Sisler


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