Hall Of Fame Debate: Dale Murphy VS Jim Rice

Hall Of Fame Debate: Dale Murphy VS Jim Rice

Last week’s ‘HOF Debate’ was a lot of fun.  We compared and debated the careers of Mike Piazza and Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez.  The debate was entertaining, animated, and educational – just what the ‘HOF Debate’ is seeking.

This week, we’ll continue with the 1-on-1 format as we compare the major league careers and accomplishments of two outfielders that competed in the same era, just in different leagues – Hall of Famer Jim Rice and fan-favorite Dale Murphy.


First, let’s look at the numbers:

  Dale Murphy Jim Rice
Seasons 18 16
Games 2,180 2,089
Hits 2,111 2,452
150-199 Hit Seasons 7 6
200+ Hit Seasons 0 4
Batting Average 0 0
.300 Seasons 3 7
Career HRs 398 382
30-39 HR Seasons 5 3
40+ HR Seasons 1 1
RBI 1,266 1,451
100-RBI Seasons 5 8
30 HR / 100 RBI Seasons 5 4
Runs Scored 1,197 1,249
100-Run Seasons 4 3
Stolen Bases 161 58
All-Star 7 8
Silver Slugger 4 2
Gold Glove 5 0
ROY 0 0
MVP 2 1
Postseasons 1 2
WS Titles 0 0


Now, I will be the first person to admit that I saw a heck of a lot more baseball games during my youth that featured Dale Murphy due to the cable channel WTBS.  So, while my exposure to Murphy was much greater than that of Jim Rice, I think that I can pull the emotion out of it and let the credentials do the talking…

So, it is now time for:  Dale Murphy VS Jim Rice

And after reviewing the numbers of both players, here are the takeaways that stand out the most to me:

* Murphy was the more accomplished base runner stealing 100 more bases in 100 more games
* Rice was the more fine-tuned hitter with (7) .300+ seasons to Murphy’s three
* Rice had 341 more hits in 91 fewer games
* Rice had 185 more RBI in 91 fewer games
* Murphy was the more accomplished defender due to his range and ability to track down balls and make plays in the outfield

Both of these players achieved great baseball success.  And while neither of them scored the ultimate win in the World Series, they both were very popular with the teams that they played for.  Both men were key parts to their team’s offense, and played huge parts in the success that their teams achieved during their careers.

As for the better player?  That is interesting.

For me, I think that both players deserve more credit for what they did on the field.  Jim Rice is a Hall of Famer, and he deserves to be.  Dale Murphy is not a Hall of Famer and he absolutely deserves to be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Overall, Murphy was a more well-rounded player due to his ability to be a threat on the base paths and change the game from playing defense.

 But, it is Rice that amassed the true Hall of Fame numbers from an offensive position.  His ability to crush home runs, drive in runners, and maintain a high batting average from the clean-up position makes him stand out as a truly elite talent.  And when you look at the rosters that Rice played on, his role was obviuos – drive in runs.  So, not only did he fill that role extremely well, but his ability to maintain a very high batting average while doing do makes him stand out in my book.

Amazingly, and shockingly, I would take Jim Rice over Dale Murphy.  Albeit by a very slim margin…

And now it is your turn.  Who do you take:  Dale Murphy OR Jim Rice?????

16 responses to “Hall Of Fame Debate: Dale Murphy VS Jim Rice

  1. You got it right. Jim’s career OPS of .854 beats Murphy’s career OPS of .815 as well. Rice was a very dangerous during his day. If the Silver Slugger was awarded before 1980 Rice would have 2 or 3 more added to his collection of hardware.

  2. I thought for sure that I was going to be going with Brother Murphy on this one, but Rice’s numbers are more impressive that I was aware of. Begrudging vote for Rice. The peaks with Murphy were higher, but the valleys were deeper. I’m not always a “numbers guy”, but seeing their stats side by side was helpful. Thanks!

  3. Murphy never dominated the NL like Rice dominated the AL in the late 70’s.

    Advantage: Rice

    Besides, can Dale Murphy break his bat check swinging at a pitch…and missing it?

  4. Dale Murphy for me. Reason? Simple bias

  5. Maybe the numbers don’t lie, but Rice had much more support and protection in his lineup, with Lynn, Evans, Boggs and others. Murphy had Horner when he was healthy , yet still was the most feared hitter in the N.L. Add in his 1000 plus consecutive game s streak( top 5 all time) and his defense… I pick Murphy.

    • Rich- I, too, wonder how Murphy would have done had he had comparable teammates in his offense. But, with Rice, you can say that he did his job – drive in the guys that hit ahead if you. And he did that exceptionally well.

      Rice 3, Murphy 2

  6. Ron Churchwell

    In my humble opinion. Murphy’s stats just don’t match up to the other’s that are still waiting enshrinement, not does he match up well with Rice. So i vote a solid NO!

  7. Oh man, tough call because I like both guys and feel both are kind of underappreciated as time looks back on them.
    With that said, I got to also go with Rice on this one. Last week I chose Piazza purely because his teams’ offensives were mostly built around him, which I could make the same argument for Murph in this case.
    However, I can’t get over the fact that Rice amassed almost 400 more hits than games played. That’s hard to do, especially for a slugger. I’m always impressed by the guys who excel at hitting the long ball and racking up 200 hit seasons.

  8. Dale Murphy, no question!

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