The Baseball Hall of Fame holds its induction ceremonies Sunday with former Expos and Cubs star Andre Dawson, former umpire Doug Harvey and former manager Whitey Herzog headlining the Class of 2010. All three are deserving, but there are many sitting at home who should be enshrined in Cooperstown and have yet to receive enough votes. This is my list of those who already should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Hasn't the statute of limitations run out on the spitting incident? One momentary lapse in judgment should not wipe out 12 All-Star appearances, 10 Gold Gloves at second base, 10 seasons of hitting .300 or better, six seasons of at least 100 runs and eight seasons of at least 30 stolen bases.
How is this even an argument? The pitcher won 287 games and is fifth all time in strikeouts and ninth all time with 60 shutouts. Plus, he is widely considered to have thrown the best curveball in baseball history. That should count for something, shouldn't it? It's baffling that he still isn't in the hall.
One criterion seemingly used in hall voting is judging how good a player was compared with his contemporaries over, say, a 10- or 12-year stretch. Well, from 1974 to 1985, was there a better first baseman in the National League? Garvey made the All-Star Game 10 times, was an NL MVP and won four Gold Gloves. Along the way, the Tampa native set the NL mark for consecutive games played with 1,207.
The Crime Dog hit 493 homers (the same as Lou Gehrig), and it's generally thought he did it cleanly in an era full of steroid users. The Tampa native had 10 seasons of at least 30 homers and eight of at least 100 RBIs. His consistency over a 19-year career was remarkable.
The former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to 1982, Miller formed one of the strongest player unions in sports history and, essentially, is the father of free agency. Controversial, for sure. But it's called the "Hall of Fame" and not the "Hall of Approval." Few have affected the modern game as much as Miller and Curt Flood, who should be in the hall.
He won 254 games, which would be low for a Hall of Famer. But this is a telling stat: He was the opening day starter 11 times (an MLB record) on three really good teams — the Tigers, Twins and Blue Jays. He was a five-time All-Star, led the AL in wins twice and strikeouts once, and was the 1991 World Series MVP. One of the best big-game pitchers ever.
If Jim Rice is in, Parker should be. Rice hit .298 with 382 homers and 1,451 RBIs. Parker batted .290 with 339 homers and 1,493 RBIs. Rice made eight All-Star Games and was voted MVP once. Parker made seven All-Star Games and was voted MVP once. Then add this: Parker won two batting titles and, with one of the best outfield arms in baseball history, won three Gold Gloves. Like Rice, Parker was one of the most feared hitters in baseball for more than a decade.
Stole at least 70 bases in his first six seasons and ranks fifth all time in steals with a success rate of nearly 85 percent. The outfielder led the National League in runs scored twice and won a batting title. Eleven times he had an on-base percentage above .390. Only one of seven players after 1945 with more than 1,500 runs and 100 triples. Simply put, one of the best leadoff hitters in history.