Hall Of Fame Debate: Willie Stargell VS Dave Parker
For this week’s ‘Hall Of Fame Debate’, I thought it would be fun to compare the careers of two players that were teammates for large parts of their playing careers – Willie Stargell and Dave Parker.
We all know that Stargell is a Hall of Famer, and Parker is not. Stargell was elected in 1988 in his first year of eligibility. On the flip side, Dave Parker remained on the Hall of Fame ballot for fifteen years. Parker never earned more than 24% of the vote for election into Cooperstown.
But are their baseball careers that different? Was Willie Stargell drastically better than his teammate Dave Parker??
That is what tonight’s debate is all about – Does Willie Stargell deserve his ’1st ballot status’ and should Dave Parker be joining his teammate in Cooperstown.
First, let’s dig into the career numbers of these players:
|Willie Stargell||Dave Parker|
Within these numbers, here is what stands out most to me:
- Parker’s career hits tally
- Parker’s batting titles
- Stargell’s on-base percentage
- Parker’s doubles
- Stargell’s home runs
- Parker’s Gold Gloves
- Parker’s Silver Slugger Awards
OK, and now the debate can begin.
First, let me tackle the Stargell-side. Willie Stargell was a fantastic player, and a supreme power hitter. He filled his role extremely well and was responsible for great run production during the majority of his career. He is the oldest player in major league history to win an MVP Award and that shows the career-long dedication that ‘Pops’ put into the sport. But, a first ballot HOFer?? I don’t think so. I fully understand that the writers that were voting in 1988 (his year of election) had different things to review in 1988 than what voters have in 2013. There are new numbers out now that show the real value of a player. It is not his fault at all, but Stargell’s vote took place during a time when entry was easier. And while he should not be blamed for that, he also does not deserve to be resting with other first-ballot guys like Aaron, Musial, Schmidt, and Brett. I absolutely think that Willie Stargell had a Hall of Fame career, and I would call him a 2nd or 3rd tier kind of player.
Ok, now onto Dave Parker. When looking at Parker, you see an imposing guy – 6 feet, 5 inches tall and 230 pounds. But just when you think that he is a one-dimensional slugger, you notice that Parker was a fantastic all-around player. Parker won back-to-back batting titles in an era when he was competing against players like Rod Carew, Bill Madlock, and Steve Garvey for the best batting averages in baseball. Parker, during the early stages of his career, was also a fantastic fielder. He won Gold Gloves in three straight seasons in the late 1970′s. For me, the biggest knock against Parker was that with his size you could have expected more home run production. Parker never had a 40-HR season, and he is well behind others on the all-time list that you would think he would have surpassed. But, the number of doubles Parker hit during his career can counter-balance some of that. Parker hit 526 doubles during his career, and he tallied 8 seasons of at least 30 or more doubles.
In my opinion, Dave Parker deserved a lot more Hall of Fame votes than what he received. To obtain no more than 24% of the vote in a single year is a bit ridiculous. Maybe it was the fact that ‘Cobra’ played for four different teams in his final four years (Lee Smith-esque) or maybe it was that for a body his size you expected to see more balls leaving the ballpark, either way – you cannot argue that Dave Parker was one of the most well-rounded hitters of his era. His 1978 MVP season was phenomenal, and could be compared to other MVP-winning seasons from that time and hold up extremely well.
But, should Dave Parker be in the Hall of Fame?
My answer is ‘Yes’. Parker was an unreal talent. And he is a player that I have a strong affinity for. While I don’t think about Parker in the same breath that I think of his 1st ballot contemporaries – Schmidt, Brett, and Yount, I do see him more on par with Andre Dawson and Jim Rice. And that is good enough for me.
There you have it. A little exhausting, but a lot of fun too!!
And now it is your turn to weigh in on this – (1) Is Willie Stargell worthy of his 1st ballot Hall of Fame status? (2) Is Dave Parker worthy of Hall of Fame induction.
Ok, time for you to sound off!!!