During Dave Parker's 19 seasons as a professional baseball player, there were few better. At times, there were none better. Parker, who took over Pittsburgh Pirates' legend Roberto Clemente's right field spot in 1975, had seven all-star appearances, three gold gloves, three silver sluggers, two batting titles, two World Series championships, and a league MVP. But, after yet another snub, still no Hall of Fame induction.
Time is running out for Parker to enjoy the honor should it ever come. He is living with Parkinson's disease and is nearing 70 years old.
As far as I'm concerned, Dave Parker's career is clearly worthy of Hall of Fame induction. His numbers make the the case well. His career batting average was .290, he hit 339 home runs, 1,493 RBIs, and was the best player on one of baseball's best teams of the 70s. So, why has Parker missed out, and, quite frankly, hasn't come close? The answer is most likely Parker's involvement in the 1985 baseball cocaine scandal.
I get that it was a black mark on baseball and that Parker's involvement was inexcusable, but there seems to be a comparison between this and the steroid scandal and I don't get that comparison. One is a matter of addiction. The other is an intentional attempt to gain a competitive advantage. They are not the same, nor are they even similar.
We shouldn't be so naive as to think that Dave Parker and the six other players mentioned as prolonged drug users in 1985 were the only ones abusing cocaine (or any drug). The difference is that Parker did it at that time with that dealer.
I don't want to diminish his drug use. It was a serious issue, and he admitted, as you can read in this article from the Undefeated, during his testimony that his cocaine use contributed during his slip in production during that time.
This looks like yet another example of the BBWAA holding a grudge against a deserving player. The examples are plentiful. From Pete Rose to Barry Bonds, some of baseball's best are not immortalized in Cooperstown because of their involvement in one scandal or another.
I've read explanations from HOF voters, there's one in the linked article above, that Parker's career made him a fringey candidate, and that is the reason he is yet to make it in, but I don't buy that at all. I'm not going to open up a can of worms by listing out current Hall of Famers who are less-deserving than Parker, but they absolutely exist.
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