Rice, Boggs inducted into PawSox Hall of Fame

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Jim Rice is the only player in the last 44 years to win the International League Triple Crown which he did in 1974 (when he was voted the league's MVP) with the Triple-A Pawtucket prior to his promotion to Boston in mid-August.

Wade Boggs is the last PawSox player to win the International League batting title when he hit .335 in 1981.

Late owner Ben Mondor not only saved Minor League baseball in Rhode Island, but also transformed a once-bankrupt franchise into one of the most successful in all of the Minor Leagues.

This trio comprised the first class to be inducted into the PawSox Hall of Fame during ceremonies at McCoy Stadium on Friday.

"It tells you that you left an impression, that you had a great career," Rice said of his induction. "Just speaking for myself, I never played the game for numbers. I played the game because I enjoyed it. I played the game because I enjoyed playing every day."

Rice's numbers with Pawtucket spoke for themselves.

In this Triple Crown Year, he hit .337 with 25 homers and 93 RBIs in only 117 games. And he's still Pawtucket's all-time leader with a .340 average.

What Rice did with Boston was an extension of what he did with Pawtucket, which is a major reason why he's a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

He ranks among Boston's all-time leaders in 10 categories and was an eight-time All-Star outfielder.

Boggs, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown ceremonies in 2005, was philosophical while discussing why he spent nearly six years in the Minors before breaking in with Boston.

"I think at the time they had [third baseman] Butch [Hobson] in front of me and Butch was a perennial 27-30 homer guy," Boggs said. "At that time, that was a power position. They weren't ready for a power position to lead off and set the table. They wanted a third baseman to hit either third or fourth and hit 35, 40 home runs a year.

"The game that I had to be successful was to set the table for Jimmy, Dwight [Evans] and Tony Armas and score 100 runs. It was a seasoning process. It was 5 1/2 years in the minor leagues. When I got to the big leagues in '82, I was ready.

Boggs' .338 career batting average with Boston is second only to Ted Williams (.344) and he was an eight-time All-Star with the Red Sox.

"I'm truly honored to go into [the PawSox Hall of Fame] with the greatest minor league owner of all-time and fellow teammate and Hall of Famer," Boggs said. "It's an honor to be recognized in the inaugural class."

Rice expressed his feelings about how revered Mondor was by the way he treated the players.

"Ben loved the players," Rice said. "When guys come down the first thing they say is 'I'm going down to Pawtucket. I'm going down to the big leagues.'

"Ben was old school. Ben always asked if you needed anything just let me know."

Mike Scandura is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.