Military service in WWI deprived Sam Rice of the 13 hits he needed for 3,000


Sam Rice Washington Senators

The historical marker near Sam Rice’s hometown of Morocco, Indiana reads, “Drafted into the Army in WWI. Rice missed most of the 1918 season. He helped Washington win American League pennants in 1924, 1925, and 1933, and a World Series title in 1924. Over 20 seasons he was often among league leaders in hits and steals. He played his last year in 1934 with the Cleveland Indians, finishing with a career .322 batting average and 2,877 hits.”

Rice remains largely forgotten today.

The Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins. Today no team or fan base embraces Rice. He finished just 13 hits shy of the 3,000-hit milestone.

Sam Rice is one of baseball’s forgotten stars.

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Lifetime passes were the brainchild of NL President Ford Frick; here’s a pictorial history


Lifetime pass

A newspaper man turned league publicist turned league president came up with a brilliant idea in 1934 — reward longtime National League players with a lifetime pass to all NL games. Senior Circuit owners approved Ford Frick’s proposal at the league meeting in December of ’34. A few months later, Frick sent out ornately decorated paper Lifetime Passes to the NL’s greatest players. He even sent one to Babe Ruth who appeared in all of 28 games for the Boston Braves in 1935. A 21-year veteran of the American League, the Babe was grateful if not surprised when he remarked, “At least the National League has a heart”. An image of the original paper pass presented to Hall of Fame outfielder Sliding Billy Hamilton can be seen below. A similar pass curiously issued to Stan Coveleski, a lifetime American Leaguer is also shown. Perhaps shamed by Ruth’s remarks, the American League joined forces in 1936 to issue a pass to all Major League contests. Players with twenty or more years of service received a solid gold pass. Seventeen men qualified for the true “golden ticket” — Ruth, Fred Clarke, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Bill Dahlen, Harry Davis, Red Faber, Walter Johnson, […]

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"Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball…"

~Jacques Barzun, 1954