…this time, from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.

“So do you think you’ll get inducted this time?” Rice was asked after returning to Boston from his other home in South Carolina.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “I don’t understand the voters sometimes. If you have the numbers to get in, if they compare to other people you’ve already put in, if the numbers are there, then why aren’t you in? Why is Bert Blyleven not in with all of those wins and all of those strikeouts? Why is Lee Smith not in? Goose Gossage? Doesn’t he have the numbers to get in? If the numbers are there, then why not? Why are so many people excluded? I never understood it.”

Nor should he. The voting is subjective. It takes many factors into consideration, including the character issue, for which McGwire will be penalized. “If you cheated, you shouldn’t be in. If you broke the rules, you shouldn’t be in. That’s why Pete Rose isn’t in. He gambled on baseball,” said Rice. “McGwire, you know, he was always a power hitter, but if he took something he shouldn’t have taken then he shouldn’t be in.”

Most observers of Hall of Fame voting feel Rice would have a better shot next season because this time the focus is on Ripken, Gwynn, and McGwire. But why should that matter? Voters are allowed to put 10 players on each ballot. Why wouldn’t Rice get all the votes he got last year? Why wouldn’t some of those voters who are ignoring McGwire stand up and say Rice played the game hard, played the game right, and amassed the numbers. Why can’t Rice get in now?

“I’ve been an advocate for Jimmy for years,” said former Sox second baseman and NESN color man Jerry Remy. “I played with him and I knew compared to the rest of the league for those five or six years there was nobody better. He was the most feared hitter. Nobody wanted to pitch to him. I think there were times Jimmy played when he shouldn’t have. But playing every day whether he was hurt or whether he felt fine was important to him. He respected the game and wanted to help his team win.

“There’s got to be a place for him in Cooperstown. People have to understand what he was.”