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Who's the Man? Jim Rice vs. Dave Parker

Coppernoll
on 12/01/2006

 

INTRODUCING: Jim Rice

Drafted: Red Sox, Round One (15 overall) 1971

Awards: 1978 AL MVP, 8 All-Stars, 2 Silver Sluggers

STATS: 1249 Runs, 2452 Hits, 373 Doubles, 79 Triples, 382 Home Runs, 1451 RBI, 58 Stolen Bases, .298 Career Batting Average, .854 Career OPS

Mr Rice has been on the Hall of Fame ballot since 1995, the closest he's come to election was 2006, when he was named on 64.8% of the ballots.

INTRODUCING: Dave Parker

Drafted: Pirates, Round 14, 1970

Awards: 1978 NL MVP, 1978 All-Star MVP, 3 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Sluggers, 2 World Series Rings- 1979 Pirates, 1989 A's

STATS: 1272 Runs, 2712 Hits, 526 Doubles, 75 Triples, 339 Home Runs, 1493 RBI, 154 Stolen Bases, .290 Career Batting Average, .810 Career OPS

Mr Parker has been on the Hall of Fame ballot since 1997, the closest he's coming to election was 1998, when he was named on 24.52% of the ballots.

Drafted one year apart at the dawn of the 1970s, Rice and Parker ruled the baseball world in 1978, each winning his league's MVP award. Both players hit for both power and average, both could positively carry a team offensively when they were hot. Defensively, this one is all Parker, who had superior range and a fantastic arm. Both men benefited from the DH rule, Rice filling the position in 530 games, Parker in 484.

The raw statistics are provided above, here's the breakdown on a per season basis...

RunsHits2B3BHRRBISBAVEOPS  
97190296301134.298.854Rice12.9 Seasons Played
84178355229810.290.810Parker15.2 Seasons Played

1 Season = 162 Games Played

Parker was a terrific hitter who had several fine seasons, but offensively, there's no doubt this one goes to Mr Rice. Apart from stolen bases and longevity, it's Rice across the board.

Defensively, this is just as one-sided, Rice was a weak fielder as a young player, he did improve with experience, but he was no match for Mr Parker. The three Gold Gloves would indicate this, but anyone who saw the two in action wouldn't need the award count to make this call.

There is one critical flaw that has kept both from the Hall of Fame. For Mr Rice, it was an overnight falloff in production. At age 33 he batted .324, driving in 110 runs, his numbers nosedived from that point on- he was done at age 36. For Mr Parker, there is a dead period in the heart of his career. He won the MVP in '78, in '79 he had his fifth consecutive ".300" season, hitting 25 home runs. Over the next five seasons, at ages 28-33, Mr Parker averaged 12 home runs per year, and a .277 batting average. Many have suspected Mr Parker of drug use during these years- he has claimed his performance suffered due to leg injuries.

So there you have it, two giants in their time, both borderline Hall of Fame candidates, both feared and respected by opponents throughout the league. One was an offensive machine who ran out of gas, the other an all-around superstar who may have caused his own downfall at the peak of his career.

Those are the facts... "Who's The Man?"

 




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