Edgar 'Sam' Rice was one of baseball's finest hitters and one of the game's fastest runners. He was a team leader and helped the Washington Senators win three pennants and one world championship in the 1920's. Seventy-six percent of Sam Rice's hits were singles and most of his extra base hits were due sheer speed rather than power. He hit 498 career doubles, lined 184 triples (14th on the all-time major league list), and 21 of his 34 career homers were inside-the-park shots. He led the league in hits for three straight years, and amassed a three year total of 669. One of baseball's toughest men to strike out, Sam Rice fanned only 275 times in 9269 at bats, spanning 19 years. Although batting leadoff most of his career, Rice drove-in 1,078 career runs.
Edgar Charles (Sam) Rice was born in Morocco, Indiana on February 20, 1890. In 1908 he married and moved to Illinois and he and his wife had two beautiful children. Sadly, in 1912, a tornado struck his home and his wife, both children, and his parents were all killed by the wicked tornado. Rice left Illinois, roamed the country, worked at odd jobs and eventually joined the United States Navy. Before the tragedy struck his family, he had tryouts as a pitcher for several minor league baseball clubs. He pitched in the Navy and in 1914, while still in the Navy, he pitched for Petersburg of the Virginia League.
At the end of the 1915 season, Edgar Charles Rice was acquired by the Washington Senators. When then Senators' president and manager, Clark Griffith announced to the press that the team had a new pitcher, he was asked the rookie's name. Griffith had no idea, but without hesitating said, "Sam". From that time on, the 5'9", 150 pound Rice was called 'Sam'. After pitching only 39 big league innings, Griffith told Rice he was much too wild as a pitcher, but - "with your speed, strong throwing arm and batting ability, you'll make a fine outfielder. Rice had collected seven hits in only nine at bats as a hitter while pitching. Sam Rice went on to become one of baseball's top players and in his' career (1915-1934) batted .322, with 2987 hits and was voted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1963. Sam Rice died in 1974. Sportshistorian.com 'Sad, Sad, Tale!