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Dave Parker

2018 Modern Era Hall of Fame Ballot: Dave Parker

The Baseball Hall of Fame recently announced their 2018 Modern Era ballot. One player on the ballot is former Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Oakland A's outfielder/DH, Dave Parker.

The first table below presents Dave Parker's career as measured by Player won-lost records.

Dave Parker
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1973PIT22
54
3.94.40.474-0.3
0.0
4.44.00.5210.10.4
1974PIT23
73
6.36.60.485-0.4
0.1
7.16.80.511-0.00.5
1975PIT24
148
22.917.30.5702.0
3.6
21.017.00.5521.32.8
1976PIT25
138
21.717.20.5581.6
3.1
20.016.30.5511.22.6
1977PIT26
159
24.818.70.5702.1
3.8
25.919.20.5742.34.1
1978PIT27
148
24.619.30.5601.7
3.3
23.617.90.5681.93.5
1979PIT28
158
24.818.20.5762.3
3.9
25.019.50.5621.73.4
1980PIT29
139
17.315.70.5240.2
1.5
17.416.30.516-0.01.3
1981PIT30
67
7.98.00.496-0.3
0.3
7.78.00.491-0.40.2
1982PIT31
72
8.37.90.512-0.0
0.6
8.78.00.5200.10.7
1983PIT32
144
17.519.20.477-1.2
0.1
17.517.80.496-0.50.7
1984CIN33
156
20.420.30.501-1.0
0.6
19.820.00.497-1.10.4
1985CIN34
160
25.920.10.5632.2
4.0
23.520.80.5310.82.4
1986CIN35
162
20.619.20.518-0.0
1.5
20.319.00.518-0.01.4
1987CIN36
153
19.219.40.497-0.8
0.7
17.718.70.487-1.20.3
1988OAK37
101
10.58.90.5410.6
1.6
9.79.90.495-0.30.7
1989OAK38
144
11.911.30.5130.3
1.6
12.212.00.5050.21.5
1990MIL39
157
13.613.80.496-0.2
1.4
13.713.00.5150.31.9
40
132
10.910.90.501-0.4
1.0
9.711.00.470-1.00.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,465
312.9276.30.5318.4
32.7
305.0275.20.5265.229.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
30
3.33.00.523 0.33.13.20.490 0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,495
316.3279.40.531
33.1
308.1278.40.526 29.3


Dave Parker and the Jim Rice Hall-of-Fame Case
To some extent, Dave Parker's Hall-of-Fame case is the same as Jim Rice's Hall-of-Fame case. In fact, they even shared a Sports Illustrated cover: most feared hitter in baseball in the late 1970s.

Dave Parker had an awesome prime from 1975 - 1979. The top 10 players in pWins over replacement level from 1975 - 79 are shown next.

Top Players, 1975 - 1979
(ranked by pWORL)
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Joe L. Morgan102.271.816.323.1
2Jim Palmer84.357.914.020.7
3Mike Schmidt110.781.512.820.3
4Tom Seaver84.266.112.418.7
5George Foster110.181.711.118.5
6Reggie Jackson106.981.310.418.0
7Amos Otis98.575.011.117.8
8Dave Parker118.890.79.717.8
9George Brett102.381.410.217.3
10Dave Concepcion98.786.79.516.7


Being one of the ten best players in baseball over a five-year time span is a nice starting point for a Hall-of-Fame case. On the other hand, the player just ahead of Dave Parker in the above table, Amos Otis, received zero votes in his only appearance on a Hall-of-Fame ballot (Player won-lost records think much more highly of Amos Otis than virtually any other statistic, especially Otis's defense).

Most Similar Players to Dave Parker
The 1979 season was Dave Parker's age-28 season. The next table shows the 10 most-similar players (since World War II) to Dave Parker through age 28, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Most Similar Players to Dave Parker in Value
through age 28
Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Fielding
Dave Parker
878
129.0101.79.0
18.0
8.4-0.03.9
Reggie Smith
1014
134.4114.56.2
16.6
7.60.23.1
Roger Maris
931
129.9100.99.5
18.7
8.50.33.5
Fred Lynn
828
113.492.39.7
17.7
8.8-0.02.6
Bobby Abreu
848
113.293.85.5
13.9
8.2-0.02.8
Scott Rolen
1052
141.3115.811.3
21.6
8.40.44.0
Robin Ventura
1038
124.5110.57.1
16.3
4.7-0.03.8
Troy Tulowitzki
870
120.5104.69.3
17.6
5.0-0.44.5
Rico Petrocelli
977
118.4108.17.7
17.0
4.5-0.34.4
Edgardo Alfonzo
1085
128.7110.08.9
18.4
3.40.24.1
Bryce Harper
767
113.486.410.8
18.1
7.60.22.1


The list above actually isn't a particularly strong group of players in terms of making a Hall-of-Fame case. There isn't a Hall-of-Famer in the bunch, although Reggie Smith and Scott Rolen are in the Hall of Merit (and Bobby Abreu could join them there when they become eligible).

What's interesting to me is that the list seems to identify more guys who, like Parker, peaked early and ended up having disappointing mid-career fades: Maris, Lynn, Petrocelli.

After five fairly disappointing seasons mid-career, Dave Parker rebounded at the age of 34 with an excellent 1985 season for the Cincinnati Reds, leading the league in RBI (125), doubles (42), and total bases (350) while batting .312; for which he finished second in NL MVP voting. He followed that up with a fairly respectable final six seasons, playing until the age of 40.

The next table shows the players whose careers are most similar to Dave Parker's career from age 34 onward.

Most Similar Players to Dave Parker in Value
from age 34 onward
Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Fielding
Dave Parker
1009
112.6103.51.8
11.7
2.5-1.00.0
Eddie Murray
1046
109.499.7-0.1
9.5
2.3-0.40.0
Andre Dawson
874
94.595.7-3.3
4.7
2.6-0.7-0.1
Torii Hunter
873
113.7108.60.8
9.2
2.0-0.40.8
Ken Griffey Jr.
757
89.084.80.4
7.3
2.7-0.4-0.3
Ron Cey
740
78.576.9-0.7
5.2
3.0-0.70.7
Mickey Vernon
1027
104.992.32.6
10.8
5.6-0.50.3
Reggie Jackson
1039
106.196.52.8
12.5
6.9-0.9-0.8
Harmon Killebrew
740
80.367.03.6
10.2
5.3-0.80.1
Willie McCovey
957
88.082.7-1.6
5.2
5.6-1.1-0.6
Hal McRae
888
71.868.10.4
8.7
3.5-0.60.0


I find this fascinating. This list of players makes a much stronger Hall-of-Fame case for Parker than the previous table. This list includes six Hall-of-Famers.

In an odd way, the Griffey comparison actually seems somewhat apt. Griffey was elected to the Hall of Fame easily on the basis of what he did in his career in his twenties (10 All-Star games, 10 Gold Gloves, one MVP plus 4 other top-5 MVP finishes). Like Parker, Griffey also played until he was 40. But the last six years of his career were seen as a disappointing coda to what could have been an all-time great career. For Parker, they were more a disappointing reminder of what he could have been had he stayed in peak form through his early thirties.

For Dave Parker, there were definitely flashes - of greatness early, of what might-have-been late. But ultimately, Parker's career was too much potential and what-ifs and not enough actual performance. It's a shame.

2018 Modern Era Hall of Fame Ballot



All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.

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