Who is Ben Rice, the Boston-born Yankees’ Baby Bomber electrifying the Bronx?

Yankees' Ben Rice has a three home run game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on July 6, 2024.
NYY

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On July 6, 2024, Yankees rookie Ben Rice etched his name in the team’s history by becoming the first player to hit three home runs in a single game. His seven RBIs tied a rookie record set by Lou Gehrig in 1925.

As a lifelong Yankees fan from Eastern Massachusetts, he was well-acquainted with the fierce Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. Ben Rice had attended games at Fenway Park and was scouted by both teams as a catcher/first baseman during his college years at Dartmouth. His chance to shine came after Anthony Rizzo’s wrist injury, reminiscent of Gehrig’s legendary rise when he replaced Wally Pipp.

Who is Ben Rice?

Ben Rice, born Benjamin Kimball Rice on February 22, 1999, in Cohasset, Massachusetts, just 25 miles from Boston, the home of the Red Sox, against which he etched his name in history with a standout performance. His father, Dan, a former Brown University baseball player, was a significant influence on his baseball journey.

The photo of Ben Rice as a kid and on his Yankees debut on June 18, 2024.
NYY

He attended Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts, before playing college baseball at Dartmouth College. The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted Ben Rice’s college career, limiting him to just 30 games as the Ivy League canceled the 2021 season.

During the summer of 2021, Ben Rice played with the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod Baseball League. The New York Yankees selected him 363rd overall in the 2021 MLB Draft, and he has since risen to become their 12th-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com.

Ben Rice began his professional career with the Florida Complex League Yankees and the Tampa Tarpons. In 2022, he hit nine home runs with a .810 OPS over 68 minor league games. His 2023 season saw him advance through the Tampa Tarpons, Hudson Valley Renegades, and Somerset Patriots, posting an impressive 1.048 OPS across 73 games at three different levels.

Ben-Rice-new-york-yankees
Twitter-NY Sports

Originally drafted as a catcher, Ben Rice’s versatility in playing first base expedited his path to the majors. His limited college experience due to the pandemic likely contributed to his lower draft position, but the Yankees’ decision to select him has proven astute.

His journey from a small town near Boston to making history against the Red Sox highlights his rapid development and the Yankees’ successful investment in his potential.

Ben Rice forays in to MLB

New York Yankees’ Ben Rice, center right, hugs family after winning a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Saturday, July 6, 2024, in New York.
AP Photo/Pamela Smith

Ben Rice’s meteoric rise through the Yankees’ farm system culminated in his major league debut on June 18, 2024. After a stellar start to the 2024 season, hitting .275 with 15 home runs and a .925 OPS across Double-A and Triple-A, Rice earned his call-up.

His promotion was timely, filling the gap left by Anthony Rizzo’s arm fracture, and injecting much-needed youth into the Yankees’ struggling lineup. In his debut against the Baltimore Orioles, Ben Rice notched his first major league hit with a third-inning single to right field.

On July 4, in a strategic lineup adjustment, the Yankees promoted Rice to the leadoff spot to address Anthony Volpe’s recent slump. Ben Rice seized the opportunity, hitting his first major league home run, a 407-foot solo shot with a 105.6 mph exit velocity.

Ben Rice’s standout moment came on July 6, when he became the youngest Yankee since Bobby Murcer in 1970 to hit three home runs in a single game. At 25, his seven RBIs in that game tied Lou Gehrig’s record for the most by a Yankees rookie in one game.

This remarkable performance underscored the rookie’s potential and highlighted the Yankees’ successful development of a player whose college career was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ben Rice stats

Minors

Career Stats
SeasonTeamLGLevelGABRHTB2B3BHRRBIBBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLGOPSGO/AO
20212 teamsMinors2266813242031313021100.1970.3450.3640.7091.27
2021F-YANFCLROK2400000011030000.16700.1670
2021TAMA SEA2062813242031212018100.210.3590.3870.7461.46
2022TAMFSLA682063255919093628041410.2670.3680.4420.811.15
20233 teamsMinors7327562891691812068440621130.3240.4340.6151.0490.62
2023TAMFSLA103571019302105010100.2860.4050.5430.9480.5
2023HVSALA+15441515232021018010300.3410.5590.5231.0820.43
2023SOMEASAA481964064127131164821042730.3270.4010.6481.0490.69
20242 teamsMinors602224561118120153640056910.2750.3930.5320.9250.89
2024SOMEASAA4918036479290122632046800.2610.3820.5110.8930.91
2024SWBINTAAA114291426303108010110.3330.440.6191.0590.8
Minors CareerMinors2237691472184024114715312501802550.2830.3970.5230.920.88
 ROK2400000011030000.16700.1670
 AAA114291426303108010110.3330.440.6191.0590.8
 AA97376761112192212874530881530.2950.3920.5820.9740.79
 A+15441515232021018010300.3410.5590.5231.0820.43
 A983034778134140145845069610.2570.370.4420.8121.12
Advanced Career Stats
SeasonTeamLGPATBXBHHBPSACSFBABIPGIDPGIDPONPP/PAROELOBWO
20212 teams842453020.227083023.5953341
2021F-YANFCL600001001152.5040
2021TAMA SE782453010.238072873.6793301
2022TAMFSL24391186020.2916389403.86871051
20233 teams3321693911020.35425513053.93111122
2023TAMFSL421952000.3481111623.8570150
2023HVSAL682345010.3941123034.4560170
2023SOMEAS222127304010.3450328403.7841802
20242 teams268118274010.30352810223.8132941
2024SOMEAS21892214010.2854238213.7662771
2024SWBINT502660000.379152014.020170
Minors Career9274028924070.3111312935693.85133455
 600001001152.5040
 502660000.379152014.020170
 440219518020.31745516613.77531573
 682345010.3941123034.4560170
 3631342811030.28775613893.826101502

MLB

Career Stats
SeasonTeamLGGABRHTB2B3BHRRBIBBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLGOPSGO/AO
2024NYYAL17518153030412809010.2940.3830.5880.9710.75
MLB Career17518153030412809010.2940.3830.5880.9710.75
Advanced Career Stats
SeasonTeamLGPATBXBHHBPSACSFBABIPGIDPGIDPONPP/PAROELOBWO
2024NYYAL603070010.282162444.0671210
MLB Career603070010.282162444.0671210

The three-homer game

Yankees' Ben Rice during a game against the Red Sox on June 6, 2024.
Yankees

The New York Yankees, struggling with 14 losses in their last 18 games, found a beacon of hope in rookie Ben Rice’s extraordinary performance against the Boston Red Sox. Rice’s three-homer game powered the Yankees to a commanding 14-4 win over their archrivals.

Ben Rice kicked off his historic day with a leadoff home run in the first inning, a 390-foot shot off Red Sox starter Josh Winckowski, leaving the bat at 105.1 mph. He followed up in the fifth inning with a three-run blast off Chase Anderson, a 406-foot drive with an exit velocity of 103.7 mph, capping a seven-run inning for the Yankees.

In the seventh inning, Ben Rice secured his place in the record books with a third 406-foot homer, again off Anderson, this time with an exit velocity of 110 mph. This brought his RBI total for the game to seven.

His performance made him the seventh Yankee to achieve a three-home run game. The 25-year-old rookie was celebrated by the Yankee Stadium crowd, who called for a curtain call. Initially overwhelmed, Ben Rice eventually emerged to wave his helmet from the dugout steps, acknowledging the fans.

Yankees teammates guides rookie Ben Rice to the curtain call at Yankee Stadium after hitting three homers against the Red Sox on July 6, 2024.

This standout game provided a crucial boost to the beleaguered Yankees, injecting much-needed optimism into their challenging season.

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