‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Jim Rice VS Dave Parker

‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Jim Rice VS Dave Parker

One of the amazing things about baseball is that sometimes the numbers just cannot tell you about the true impact that a player had on his team or the sport.

Case in point – there are several players that starred in the 1970’s whose numbers are on par with the best players of the decade, the Hall of Famers, from the same era.  Some of those names are Jack Morris, Keith Hernandez, Steve Garvey, Alan Trammell, and one that I especially am fond of, Mr. Dave Parker.

I tried to find the best player to compare Parker to so I could demonstrate this through the numbers, and I think that a player that fits the bill is Jim Rice.

Personally, when I review these careers of these two players side-by-side I see the same player.  Both great, not elite, but certainly upper-crust.

Have a look:

Jim Rice Dave Parker
Seasons 16 19
Games 2,089 2,466
Hits 2,452 2,712
200 Hit Seasons 4 1
150-199 Hit Seasons 6 10
Batting Average 0.298 0.29
.300+ Seasons 7 6
Batting Titles 0 2
On-Base % 0.352 0.339
Walks Drawn 670 683
Strikeouts 1423 1537
Doubles 373 526
Triples 79 75
Home Runs 382 339
30-39 HR Seasons 3 3
40+ HR Seasons 1 0
Stolen Bases 58 154
Runs Scored 1,249 1,272
100-Run Seasons 3 3
RBI 1,451 1,493
100-RBI Seasons 8 4
All-Star 8 6
Gold Glove 0 3
Silver Slugger 2 3
ROY 0 0
MVP 1 1
Postseasons 2 5
WS Titles 0 2

The stand-out stats for me:

  • Parker has almost 275 more career hits
  • Very consistent annual hit tally from both
  • Extremely close lifetime batting average
  • Parker’s two batting titles is a solid accomplishment
  • Plate discipline is close
  • Parker’s doubles is much greater than that of Rice who played in a ‘doubles friendly’ park for his whole career
  • Rice has almost 50 more HR’s
  • Parker has almost 100 more stolen bases
  • Run production is extremely close
  • Post-season accolades is similar
  • Parker’s 2 World Series rings is HUGE

So, the players appear to be comparable in baseball accomplishments – yet one is in the Hall of Fame and one is not.


Let’s Debate!!!  Who would you choose?  Who was the better player??

For me, it comes down to a few things – and all of them point to Dave Parker getting my vote.  Parker was a contributor on two different teams that won World Series titles – that means a lot.  He also won two batting titles (1977 & 1978) in a time that featured a handful of guys that were collecting 200+ hits per season.  Based on the stolen base numbers, Parker was a much more aggressive base runner than Rice and he also averaged fewer strikeouts than Rice as well.  While Rice put up solid numbers, and maybe was a bit more consistent with the power production, his numbers do not exceed those by Parker by an overwhelming amount.

So, my vote goes to Dave Parker.  I firmly believe that he belongs in the Hall of Fame alongside Jim Rice.  And while neither player was the lone star on the teams that they played for, both were very solid teammates that produced wins and winning seasons for their clubs.

What do you think?  Who would you take: Jim Rice OR Dave Parker??

Let the debate begin!!!



14 responses to “‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Jim Rice VS Dave Parker

  1. My vote goes to Jim Rice. He has a much better 162 game average season than Parker does. Rice scored more runs, got more hits, hit more home runs, knocked in more RBI, had a better AVG, OBP, SLG and OPS. Rice also had a higher career WAR and BAbip.

    The biggest knock against Rice was his defense and Parker was one of the best defensive players of his era, but I don’t think that helps a lot when he’s going up against Rice in this debate.

    I think drugs did in Parker’s career and without the drug issues he probably would have been a HOF player. The early 1980’s destroyed his career as far as the HOF goes.

    • Matt- Very insightful, and the numbers you presented lead towards Rice. I would say that Parker was a much more feared defender and he was actually a pretty good base runner for a player of his size and spot in the batting order. For me, the 2 WS rings certainly earned him a few point that Rice could not earn…

      Thanks for the vote!

      Rice 1, Parker 1

  2. I like both players, and I was really glad when Rice was inducted, but I really believe Parker should be in the HOF. The guy was a beast. I almost have to go with Parker.
    Matt D. makes some interesting points.
    I’m pretty torn to be honest.

  3. Personally I think they both belong in the Hall of Great, but not the the Hall of Fame. Neither one lowers the standards of the HOF (if we were to evict some players, Rice wouldn’t be among the first to go), but I’d put Trammell (mentioned in the first paragraph) in before either. Morris Hernandez and Garvey would be behind Parker and Rice.

    Just my opinion though.

  4. I don’t want to make this another tirade; let me just second what you mentioned in the post about both being great players. However, I don’t agree with giving Parker a lot of credit for World Series wins. Yes, he did a lot to help the Pirates win in ’79, but the second title was right place right time. He batted .222 with only one meaningful hit in ’89. His career postseason batting average was a measly .234.
    Rice hit .235 for his career in the postseason. So it is a draw. In reality both were great, but neither was ever the greatest in game. Because I am a sox fan, I will pick Rice.

  5. This is a toughie, both stringed together good dominant seasons consecutively.

    But, I don’t like ties in this sort thing. I’m going with Rice for two reasons.

    Reason#1 – Parker was more of an all-around player, but I would argue rice was a slightly better hitter. As I’ve said before, I’m always impressed by the guys who hit for power and amassed 200 hits in a season. Rice led the AL in total bases four times. Pretty impressive for a guy with limited running ability.

    Reason#2 – they both had 6 seasons in the top ten MVP votes, but rice did it in fewer seasons. So I think that should account for something. I don’t know why rice didn’t play longer, but I feel he did more in less time. He drove in 100 the year before he retired so he was productive right up to the end of his career.

  6. Did anyone look at Rice’s numbers at Home in Fenway compared to Away? It tells a good story, Rice must have benefitted from the short field in Left. Rice BA at Home = 3.20 and Away = .277. SLG at Home = .546 and Away = .459. In my opinion RBIs and Runs aren’t an individual statistic, they’re influenced by the quality of your team, so throw those out. Parker was a much better defensive player. Rice was a slightly better hitter/slugger, but only if you include his numbers at Fenway, take Rice out of Fenway and Parker is the better hitter and slugging is about the same. Parker was a better base runner, he could steal bases and score from first base on a “long” single. My vote is for Parker. I think its the drug tarnished image from the early 80’s that keeps Parker out of the HOF.

  7. Andy,
    I am a Pirates fan first and a huge baseball fan second. I liked both of these players growing up. I feel both belong in the Hall of Fame for a lot of reasons. As far as the debate goes though, Rice had much better players around him to protect him I the lineup for most of his career as where Parker had a bunch of roll players and an ageing Willie Stargell. Not to mention, Parker was much more injury plagued throughout his career and usually played while injured. I am not disagreeing on players such as Trammell and Morris who were recently inducted, I also have argued for years that Dale Murphy, Steve Garvey, Bill Madlock and Keith Hernandez should all be Hall of Famers. Because of the era (70’s and 80’s) and they were all well know as stars throughout these era’s and all but Murphy are World Series champions. Anyway, getting back to this little debate, both were great players and both belong in Cooperstown. Period!!! I personally would choose Parker, not because I am a Pirates fan, but because Rice was a righty playing in Fenway and have a much better surrounding cast of players around him in the lineup.

  8. Pingback: H2H 98: Dave Parker vs. Jim Rice - Who was Better? - Sports H2H

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