Baseball Hall of Famers
Anderson County is the proud home of not one, but two Hall of Fame baseball players.
The first was Ben Taylor (1888-1953) who began his baseball career in 1908 as a pitcher with the Birmingham Giants. Taylor entered the game at a time when black players were not permitted to play in conventional leagues, but his performance in the so-called Negro Leagues proved the caliber player and man he was. He made a name for himself in Indiana, New York, and Illinois playing for several teams before serving as manager for the Indianapolis ABC’s in 1923. Taylor continued to play and manage teams until his final season of play in 1929, when he recorded a .322 batting average at the age of 40. Ben Taylor died of pneumonia in 1953, and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.
The second Andersonian to receive this national recognition was Jim Ed Rice in 2009. Rice was born in Anderson in 1953, and quickly showed great promise as an athlete. Coaches remember his prowess at both Westside High School and T.L. Hanna, where he lettered in baseball, basketball, football, and track. He would go on to become one of the greatest “power hitters” in Red Sox history, leading the American League in home runs three times, in RBIs twice, in slugging percentage twice and in total bases four times. After retirement, Rice continued to work with the Red Sox as a batting coach and commentator, and became greatly involved in the MLB’s RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program. Jim Rice continues to live as a true Hall of Famer, both on and off the field.