Pittsburgh Pirates: 30 greatest players in franchise history
By Tim Boyle
In sixth-place on the all-time list of Pirates home runs, we find Dave Parker. His 166 home runs in 11 seasons with the Pirates is a highlight of a career that also included an MVP, three Gold Gloves and four All-Star selections while representing Pittsburgh. He was much more than a power hitter. He was a guy who played baseball at an elite level.
If Parker stayed in Pittsburgh longer, we probably would have seen him land higher on this list. His 34.8 WAR ranks 14th in franchise history. However, it’s the plethora of accomplishments he made outside of this one number that makes him so special.
Parker isn’t No. 1 in any major statistic, nor does he own any single-season Pirates records. It’s the previously mentioned awards, plus his pair of batting titles that help make him a great.
During the Pirates’ run to a championship in 1979, Parker delivered in both the NLCS and World Series. He batted .333 against the Cincinnati Reds before putting together an even better series versus the Baltimore Orioles. In that World Series, Parker slashed .345/.394/.448 with four RBI.
One year before winning the MVP, Parker led the league with 215 hits and 44 doubles in 1977. He added a few more league-leading totals in the MVP season, including a .585 slugging percentage. Parker ultimately finished his career in Pittsburgh with a .305/.353/.494 batting line. Those two seasons stand out as the best.
Parker never got much attention when it came to the Hall of Fame vote. One day, though, we may see a Veteran’s Committee elect him.