The Pittsburgh Pirates were hoping to see one of their most iconic players enter Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Instead, Dave Parker was once again snubbed.
Yesterday was the beginning of Major League Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings. Every year, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the 29 other teams in baseball head to a city and hold about four days worth of baseball meetings. There are many things that go on at the Winter Meetings, but it starts with the announcement of who the Veteran’s Committee elected into the Hall of Fame. This year, once again, former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Dave Parker was on the ballot.
The Veteran’s Committee is a group of people from baseball who come together to vote on deserving players from the 70s and 80s. This group has put players such as Harold Baines and Jack Morris, among others, into the Hall of Fame in recent years.
This year seemed like a strong possibility that former Pittsburgh Pirates legend Dave Parker would make the Hall of Fame. Instead, the Veteran’s Committee once again kept Parker out of Baseball’s shrine. The committee voted former Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons and former MLBPA President Marvin Miller into the Hall.
Parker once again continues to be kept out of the Hall of Fame for reasons outside of his game. Parker has been kept out for his struggle with addiction off of the field; he was a known cocaine addict and even had to testify in court against a dealer from Pittsburgh. Due to this, many in baseball refuse to let him in baseball’s most sacred enshrinement.
This is a little ridiculous. There are likely many players in the Hall of Fame who have used performance-enhancing drugs as well as other kinds. Parker is being punished for something that is unrelated to his performance on the field. He was an MVP, a three-time Silver Slugger award winner, and Gold Glover. His lifetime batting average was .290, but he was well rounded hitting over 300 home runs in his career along with making seven All-Star games. Parker was one of the first true “five-tool players.”
Also, Parker broke ground in the game of Baseball. He was/is one of the best African-American players to ever play. This was especially important during the early 70s when baseball was starting to become more and more desegregated. Furthermore, he became the first player in baseball history to earn an average salary of $1 million per season.
Dave Parker was not only a great player but an important part of baseball history. The Cobra was a great all-around player who could do every aspect of the game well, one of the first “five-tool” players. Also, he helped continue to break the color barrier in baseball, playing at an elite-level and earning himself a record-breaking contract.
While he had had his flaws, he should not be punished for them for the rest of his life. Dave Parker was once again snubbed out of the Hall of Fame for something that has nothing to do with baseball. He was the best all-around player of his era and should be enshrined for that alone.