Pittsburgh Pirates Black History Month: Honoring the Cobra

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Here at Rum Bunter we are using Black History Month to honor some of the many great African American players the Pittsburgh Pirates have had in their franchise history. Thus far, we have honored pitcher Bob Veale and outfielder Andrew McCutchen. Today we take a look at another outfielder, and one of the biggest Hall of Fame snubs in baseball, ‘The Cobra’ Dave Parker.

Parker is one of the best players in Pirate history. As a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Parker was the National League MVP in 1978 and won a World Series in 1979. He won a Gold Glove Award in 1977, 1978, and 1979, as well as winning a NL batting crown in 1977 and 1978.

From 1973 through 1983 Parker roamed right field for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not only was he one of the best hitters in the league, but with a rifle of a right arm he was also one of the best defensive players in the National League.

With the Pirates, Parker accumulated 5123 plate appearances in 1243 games played. Parker hit for a .306/.354/.496 slash line to go with a 132 wRC+, .190 isolate slugging, .374 wOBA, and 162 home runs.

After leaving the Pirates, Parker played for the Cincinnati Reds, Oakland A’s, Milwaukee Brewers, California Angels, and Toronto Blue Jays. He finished his MLB career with a .290/.339/.471 slash line, 120 wRC+, 339 home runs, and he averaged 2.2 fWAR during his 19-year MLB career. This included his aforementioned MVP and three Gold Glove Awards, as well as being a seven-time all-star and winning three Silver Slugger Awards.

While Parker played for six MLB clubs, it is his 11-year stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates that he is best known for. A Pirate cap is also the one he should be wearing in the Hall of Fame, but, likely largely due to his involvement in the 1980s cocaine trials in baseball, Parker remains a HOF snub.

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Parker is not jsut one of the best players in Pirate history, he was one of the best plyaers in all of MLB of his era. He is also one of the best players in MLB history to not be in the Hall of Fame. Hopefully, one day, ‘The Cobra’ will find his way into Cooperstown where he belongs.