Jackson 'not sure' Rice belongs in Hall of Fame

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Jackson 'not sure' Rice belongs in Hall of Fame

Reggie Jackson is a member of baseball's Hall of Fame, not an elector. If he were, its ranks wouldn't be quite as robust.

Among those Jackson might not have voted for: Jim Rice.

"As much as I like Jim Rice, I'm not so sure he's a Hall of Famer," Jackson said in an interview with Sports Illustrated, which will be published in its next edition. A portion of the interview was posted online today by the New York Daily News.

The Red Sox slugger -- whom Jackson once said he would have loved to have played with -- isn't the only member of the Hall that Jackson doesn't think belongs. Others include Kirby Puckett, Gary Carter, Don Sutton and Phil Nierko . . . and one of this year's inductees, Bert Blyleven.

"No. No, no, no, no," Jackson said of Blyleven. "Blyleven wasn't even the dominant pitcher of his era. Jack Morris was."

Jackson also said he believes any player linked to performance-enhancing drugs -- including his "very good friend" Alex Rodriguez -- should be banned from the Hall. He predicted if any of them are elected, including home-run king Barry Bonds, "no Hall of Famer will attend" the induction ceremony.

The only exception would be Andy Pettitte, "who admitted that he got involved with PEDs for a while, but is so universally respected in the game." Two weeks ago, Jackson said Roger Clemens -- acquitted by a jury of lying to Congress about PED use, but who his lawyer admits is still stained by the scandal -- should go into the Hall of Fame "regardless of anybody's opinion" because "our judicial system says he's not guilty."

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
 

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.