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He's too modest to post it here himself, but our own Craig Burley has penned a terrific piece for Baseball Primer. As part of a series on the eligible candidates for the upcoming Hall of Fame elections, Craig took on the daunting assignment of evaluating Dave Parker. The Cobra was a great RF, hitter and leader, whose personality and lifestyle rubbed many the wrong way, so I don't think the tiny minds of the BBWAA will elect him, but after reading this thorough and enjoyable analysis, you will have a greater appreciation for both the player and the man. Maybe even the author :-)

Awesome work, Craig. I agree with many Primates that it's the best article in the series.

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Craig B - Wednesday, January 01 2003 @ 12:58 AM EST (#100334) #
Too modest!? Those who know me would say I could give Parker himself a run for his money in that line... not in a good way, obviously.

Anyway, I'm glad the article is drawing a lot of discussion at BP. The "Keltner List" is most interesting for borderline candidates like Parker, and I wanted to spur some discussion on that front. There's a big group of candidates similar to Parker, who I think largely deserve enshrinement, who are going to likely be kept out except for one or maybe two members. I think it's silly, because far inferior players from the same era are likely to be picked; but because ten of the thirty best players of that era were right fielders, only a couple may ever get in.
_Kent - Wednesday, January 01 2003 @ 11:47 AM EST (#100335) #
The relative merits of Parker, Jim Rice and Andre Dawson will be argued for a long time, whether they are enshrined or not. Among pitchers, the same debate applies to Bert Blyleven, Jim Kaat and Tommy John, and of course, there's the issue of inducting relievers -- Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter and Lee Smith all deserve consideration.

Craig used the term "amongst ourselves" in his Primer comment, and as one who is open-minded, and has learned a great deal from other people's analysis, I still feel excluded. Not offended; I am an outsider in that community, like the majority of coaches, scouts and baseball writers. My conversion to statistical doctrine is ongoing, but unlikely to be complete in this lifetime; habits die hard.

My fellow "old school" alumni do the HoF voting, which has always resulted in some questionable decisions. The guy (Tracy Ringolsby?) who is naming Darryl Kile to "honour" him, and for some inexplicable reason (refused him an interview once?) leaving Eddie Murray off his ballot, should be ashamed. Some people emphasize the "jerk" in "knee-jerk reaction" -- even those of us who begin with a gut reaction should investigate the facts, and admit when our instincts miss the mark.

I began reading the Parker piece with the assumption that Dave warrants induction, but will be denied because of voter bias, and felt a sense of relief when Craig's diligent research didn't contradict my opinion. Unfortunately, too many of the writers don't do even that much "homework" before irresponsibly marking their ballots.

In BB #86, I drew the line at Murray, Carter and Sandberg; if I voted for another player it would be Blyleven, who Craig considers a fourth "no-brainer" choice. To me, after that, there's a potential problem of opening the floodgates. Both Gossage and Sutter were brilliant, and revolutionized their position, but didn't have the longevity of Kaat, Parker or Dawson. If they admit Kaat, it's hard to deny Tommy John (and my gut churns at that one.) If the Cobra and the Hawk get in, so should Jim Rice, Alan Trammell and a lot of others on the proverbial borderline. Goose and Bruce being inducted would make a case for other brief, bright flames like Mattingly and Valenzuela.

These issues are too complicated to be determined by the current voters under the present system, where the scholarly and rational approach is ignored by emotional grandstanders, and the Hall of Merit will ultimately be a better reflection of baseball's greatest.
_Jordan - Wednesday, January 01 2003 @ 02:06 PM EST (#100336) #
Craig, excellent work! This is a fine article, one that makes a better case for Dave Parker than I would have imagined possible. I'm still on the fence, since I think, as one of the comments at BP indicated, that his Comparable Players list is a Who's Who of very good players not quite good enough to make it into the Hall. I tend to err on the side of exclusion, and Parker is a classic borderline candidate whose enshrinement, like Tony Perez's, could ultimately cause more harm than good. Plus, the last borderline guy I supported for the Hall was Kirby Puckett, and I'm still smarting over that. But again, you make a persuasive case, and I'll think about it some more.
Craig B - Wednesday, January 01 2003 @ 10:11 PM EST (#100337) #
Well, for all the nice things people are saying, there's just as many people trying to rip me a new one because I said mean things about Willie Stargell... and in one case, complementary things about Barry Bonds. Not only can you not please everybody, but you can't please anyone without enraging someone else.
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