The HoF ballot came out recently, which means it won't be long before Dave Parker starts his annual campaign to get himself elected.
I've ranted at some length about Dave's self interest before, and I'm not going to do it again. But a book I just finished reading raised an interesting notion.
Here are three lists with the career numbers of the same five Pirates, three of them HoFers and one wannabe
Roberto Clemente 3,000
Mystery Man 2,743
Dave Parker 2,712
Willie Stargell 2,232
Ralph Kiner 1,451
Willie Stargell 1,540
Dave Parker 1,493
Mystery Man 1,326
Roberto Clemente 1,305
Ralph Kiner 1,015
Roberto Clemente .317
Mystery Man .303
Dave Parker .290
Willie Stargell .282
Ralph Kiner .279
The author admits, "Yes, I've carefully chosen to omit home runs from this analysis ... [because] home run totals do not favor [Mystery Man] in any way .. " But for the record, Mystery Man hit 219.
The author isn't making a case for MM being as GOOD as Clemente or Stargell or Parker, just trying to make the case that MM was a pretty damn good hitter that nobody talks about much anymore. MM was on the HoF ballot for one year, drew <5% and was gone.
Which brings me back to Parker. What would make me more of a fan of Dave's case (and I'm a fan of Dave, but not his HoF case, and this is totally arbitrary, I know, but ...) is if he ever tried to make a case for someone other than himself, such as this former teammate of his, and for whom bb-ref lists, of all people, Dave Parker as the No. 5 most similar hitter. "Hey," Dave never says, "ignore me if you like, but I played with a real good hitter who never got much consideration. I wish the Vets would take a look at [MM]."
But of course Dave never does that, because, just as it's always been, it's all about Dave.
Mystery Man wasn't especially fast (his stolen base rate is pretty pedestrian, one year he was 13/29). He didn't walk much. He had good OBPs but they were largely BA driven. I see no evidence that he was an exceptional defensive player. He never led the league in anything (except games played, once) until he was 35, when he had his career year. It wasn't for the Pirates.
But Lord, that man could hit a baseball, and damn if he wasn't in the top 10 a lot. A LOT.
Al Oliver, people.