I ran an AP story in the paper today in which Dave Parker complains that if Jim Rice can be in the Hall, why can't he? Their offensive stats are somewhat similar, but of course Dave was a far superior defensive player. (I'd argue that if Jim Rice was no better than a guy who threw away five prime years of his career to being a fat druggie he doesn't belong in the Hall, but what's done is done.)
"There are very few who went in recently who were as important to the team as I was. I was always The Guy or one of The Guys ... I was probably one of the most instrumental guys as far as my team having success."
He's right about that, which I'll get to.
Dave's convinced, of course, that his dabbling in drugs is the reason he's being blackballed. I think he's right, but I also think he way understates his involvement. He kind of makes it sound like he was standing on the street one day and someone threw a bag of coke that hit him in the face and he accidentally inhaled.
Not quite. There was an open drug market running in the Pirates clubhouse in those days, and Dave Parker was, in fact, The Guy in that clubhouse. If he gave a sh*t about his career and life and the careers and lives of his teammates, not to mention the integrity of the game and the embarrassment that whole episode caused the team and the game, he could have been "instrumental" in putting a stop to it. He could have gone to management and told them what was going on, rather than facilitating the drug use and setting a fine example for his teammates who didn't have half his talent. He could have been The Guy.
But he didn't because he was right in the middle of it. So: No Hall for you, Dave. I don't care for Jim Rice (see below), who for all I know unloaded the greenie jar down his gullet before he took the field every day, but at the very least he didn't sully himself, his team and his game with the kind of sordid adventures Dave Parker did.