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December 31, 2009

Hall of Fame 2010: Dave Parker

From now until the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2010 is announced, The Hall is going to be breaking down each candidate. Some write ups will be lengthy...some will be the opposite. Some will be brand new pieces...some will be re-hashes of previous pieces.

If there was a “Badass Hall of Fame”, Dave Parker would have made it in long ago.

First ballot.

His toothy grin would surely be up on that stage praising Willie Stargell and condemning Marge Schott. Sitting behind him in whatever the “Badass Hall of Fame” requires inductees to wear (I imagine a blazer and a fedora…perhaps accented with a cane) would be such luminaries as Dick Allen and Albert Belle.

No doubt, Parker would bring up that collision with John Stearns during his MVP season of 1978 that broke his jaw and cheekbone. Surely, he’d talk about his return two weeks later when he stepped into the plate wearing a goalie-style mask.

Perhaps he’d mention whether or not that kept him from sneaking smokes in the dugout. Maybe we'd even hear about the battles he had with his weight and the Pittsburgh drug trial of 1985.

Parker was a rebel…nothing like his predecessor in rightfield for the Pirates Roberto Clemente. “The Cobra” played mean and looked meaner.

Early in his career, he could go toe to toe with Stargell when it came to knocking the ball out of the park, he had the hitting prowess to match former teammates Al Oliver and Bill Madlock at the plate and at 6’5” he was surprisingly nimble.

Add to that his cannon for an arm, three Gold Gloves and Parker possessed many of the tools it takes to be a Hall of Famer…”Badass” or otherwise.

As it stands, there are only seven Hall eligible players with more hits that Parker’s 2712…and three of them (Harold Baines, Andre Dawson and Roberto Alomar) are on this year’s ballot. A seven-time All-Star, Parker hit 339 home runs and knocked in 1493 runs. Only Baines, Dawson and fellow member of this year’s ballot Fred McGriff have more and are Hall eligible.

Unfortunately, this is Parker’s 14th time that he’s appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot and never has he even approached a third of the votes needed for induction.

So, until that “Badass Hall of Fame” gets built…we’ll have to just wonder what the career .290 hitter would have had in store for us when he gave his speech.

BallHype: hype it up!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While most of what is written about Parker is true, in Pittsburgh the masses don't really consider him a tough guy. In a city where everyone is supposed to pull their own weight at work, people like Parker who began, finished, and continues to tell the world how much he accomplished just does not resonate.
Parker hit 339 HR's in his career, about 71% fewer than Stargell (475). That is about the percent of a ballplayer and leader Parker was comparatively speaking.