Brian (Raleigh): Rob, if Jim Rice was not the most feared hitter of the 80’s, who was? Jorge Bell?
Rob Neyer: I think you mean Jorge Orta . . . Seriously, I’m sick to death of this “most feared” thing. What does that mean? I know it doesn’t mean “best,” which really is all that matters. Looking at Rice’s 10 best years, 1977-1986 — which, by the way, are also his only 10 good years — and you’ll find that he was, at best, the third-best hitter in the American League, behind George Brett and Eddie Murray. And again, that’s stacking the deck in Rice’s favor. If we go to 11 or 12 years, or talk about defensive value and double plays grounded into . . . I’ve heard from a lot of people about Rice in the last 24 hours, and I’ve come to the conclusion that he does lead all hitters in one thing: myth creation and misperception.