MLB Hall of Fame: Ballot not so sweet for Lou Whitaker

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16: Brayan Pena
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16: Brayan Pena /
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ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 01: Former Atlanta Brave Dale Murphy stands on the field prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies during Opening Day at Turner Field on April 1, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 01: Former Atlanta Brave Dale Murphy stands on the field prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies during Opening Day at Turner Field on April 1, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Outfielders

Dale Murphy: Played from 1976 to 1993

  • .265/.346/.469, 119 wRC+, 44.3 WAR
  • All-time rank at position: 97th
  • Positional rank from 1970-1987: 21st

Dale Murphy’s career extended seven years beyond the time period that defines the Modern MLB Hall of Fame ballot, but it doesn’t really matter because he didn’t do much in those seven years. Murphy’s Hall of Fame case really comes down to about six good seasons spread out over an eight-year period from 1980 to 1987. He famously won back-to-back NL MVP Awards in 1982 and 1983 when he led the NL in RBI both years. He was an All-Star seven times in eight years, including six in a row, and won the Gold Glove Award five straight times.

Peak Dale Murphy was a very good player. He was a big guy who played 162 games four years in a row and averaged 36 homers per year over a six-year period. Then, quite suddenly at the age of 33, that was it. Over the last five years of his career, Murphy hit .236/.304/.388 while averaging just 101 games per year. Murphy was a great guy by all accounts, but I don’t believe he was a MLB Hall of Fame

My Verdict: No on Dale Murphy

Dave Parker (played from 1973 to 1991)

  • .290/.339/.471, 120 wRC+, 41.1 WAR
  • All-time rank at position: 118th
  • Positional rank from 1970-1987: 20th

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that my favorite all-time baseball team is the 1979 “We R Fam-A-Lee” Pittsburgh Pirates. Dave “Cobra” Parker was a key member of that team and the other good teams in Pittsburgh during those years. Willie Stargell was my favorite player, but I also loved watching Dave Parker, Bill Madlock, John Candelaria, Kent Tekulve, and so many others on that squad.

As much as I love my childhood team and the big right fielder nicknamed “Cobra,” I don’t believe Dave Parker is a Hall of Fame player. He had a great stretch of five years from 1975 to 1979 during which he averaged just over 6 WAR per season, but these five seasons accounted for nearly 75 percent of his career value. Other than this five-year stretch, he had just one above-average season.

My Verdict: No on Dave Parker, with apologies to my eight-year-old self

Ballot Snubs: Dwight Evans (65.1 WAR), Reggie Smith (64.6 WAR)

Dwight Evans is the Bobby Grich of outfielders. Both are very underappreciated. By Fangraphs WAR, Evans was the second most valuable outfielder from 1970-1987 and Reggie Smith comes in fifth. On the all-time list, Evans ranks 30th, just behind Tim Raines and ahead of Tony Gwynn. After Gwynn comes Reggie Smith, ranking 32nd. Both Evans and Smith were more valuable than Hall of Famers Willie Stargell, Billy Williams, Dave Winfield, and Andre Dawson, among others.