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Parker comes up short in HOF vote
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01/07/2003  2:15 PM ET 
Parker comes up short in HOF vote
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Dave Parker led the NL in total bases in 1985 and 1986 with the Reds. (Cincinnati Reds)
PITTSBURGH -- As the 1970s came to a close, Dave Parker seemed a virtual lock for future enshrinement in baseball's Hall of Fame. By 26, Parker already had collected two batting titles, an NL MVP, an All-Star Game MVP and three Gold Gloves to go along with a World Championship trophy. But after seven years on the Hall of Fame ballot, "The Cobra" still remains on the outside looking in.

While two of his contemporaries -- Eddie Murray and Gary Carter -- picked up the votes necessary for election Tuesday, Parker's name appeared on just 51 of the 496 ballots cast, falling far short of the 372 votes needed for enshrinement.

Hall of Fame 2003

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Sunday, July 27
Cooperstown, New York

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Gary Carter | Eddie Murray

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As a 6-foot-6, 235-pound right fielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates early in his career, Parker epitomized the term "five-tool player." In a 1978 poll of general managers, he was selected as the best player in the game. A year later he was rewarded with the highest salary in team sports up to that point.

After hitting .322 with an average of 23 home runs, 98 RBIs and 16 stolen bases during his first five full seasons in the Major Leagues, an assortment of injuries significantly reduced Parker's production from 1980-83. During that four-year stretch, Parker batted .280 with an average of just 11 home runs and 56 RBIs per season. It was his relative lack of production in the early 1980's -- during what should have been the prime of his career -- that probably cost him his shot at the Hall of Fame.

 

trade   Long way to go

Dave Concepcion's support among Hall of Fame voters remained virtually unchanged. That is, he still has far to go before making a serious bid to enter Cooperstown.

The former Reds shortstop received 55 votes -- 11.1 percent of the electorate -- in the balloting announced Tuesday. Last year, Concepcion garnered 56 votes, or 11.9 percent. Candidates must receive 75 percent of the vote to earn election to the Hall and need 10 percent to stay on the ballot. Concepcion, who played for Cincinnati from 1970-88, will remain on the ballot for five more years if he continues to exceed the 10 percent threshold. This was his 10th appearance on the ballot.

Given the respect Concepcion commands from longtime observers, he might have a better chance to gain election from the Veterans Committee, which consists mostly of living Hall of Famers, if his eligibility for the regular ballot expires.

A member of the Reds Hall of Fame, Concepcion batted .267 lifetime with 2,326 hits, 101 home runs, 950 RBIs and 321 stolen bases. He was a nine-time All-Star and a five-time Gold Glove Award winner.

-- Chris Haft

Despite being embroiled in the highly publicized drug trial that rocked the baseball world, Parker turned his career back around after signing a free-agent contract with his hometown Cincinnati Reds in 1984. Parker led the NL in RBIs and total bases in 1985 and finished as the runner-up to St. Louis' Willie McGee in the NL MVP race that season.

Parker later went on to serve as an important cog on the Oakland A's 1988 AL championship and 1989 world championship teams and appeared in the 1990 All-Star game as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. By the time he decided to hang up the cleats for good in 1991, Parker's 19-year big league totals included a .290 average, 2,712 hits, 339 home runs and 1,491 RBIs -- numbers he has always felt were worthy of Hall of Fame enshrinement.

"I won two batting titles, should have won two MVPs, was in three World Series, was the MVP of the All-Star Game, DH of the Year twice, and won the RBI crown," Parker said in an interview with MLB.com in November, 2001. "I did everything that you could possibly do in baseball and I'm not in the Hall?"

Because Parker exceeded the 25 votes necessary to remain on the ballot, he will be given another shot at baseball immortality next year and could continue to be a candidate until 2011. But it's not surprising that Parker -- never known for having a cozy relationship with the media -- would prefer to have former players rather than writers determining whether a player is worthy or not for baseball's hallowed halls.

"I played with nagging injuries to benefit my ballclub," said Parker. "That's why you need someone like a Hall of Famer [voting] that's done the similar things and compiled those numbers because only they know. A writer doesn't know. Some of these kids that are voting for the Hall of Fame have never seen me play."

Ed Eagle is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at ed.eagle@pittsburghpirates.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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