3 former Cincinnati Reds players who deserve more love from the Hall of Fame

Dave Concepcion during a recent workout at the Reds' spring training.
Dave Concepcion during a recent workout at the Reds' spring training. / The Enquirer/Fred Straub
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With the Baseball Hall of Fame set to announce who'll be immortalized in Cooperstown, I think it's time we take a look at some former Cincinnati Reds players who've received little to no love from the baseball writers over the years.

Now, don't look for the name Pete Rose to pop up. I know that fans, especially in Cincinnati, have a soft spot for the Hit King. And while you'll get no argument from me, we all know that Rose has been permanently banned from baseball.

But, aside from Rose, there are other past Reds performers who've not yet been recognized by the Baseball Writers of America or the Era Committees (formerly known as the Veterans Committees). Let's take a look at the three most glaring omissions.

1. Dave Concepción, Reds shortstop

Barry Larkin manned the shortstop position in Cincinnati for 19 years. But prior to that, Dave Concepción spent his entire 18-year career as the Reds shortstop and was a key member of the Big Red Machine in the 1970s. The fact that Concepción is not in the Hall of Fame is a crime.

The Modern Era Committee would be tasked with adding Concepción to the Hall of Fame, and the nine-time All-Star didn't even make the final cut last time. From a metrics standpoint, Concepción's 40.1 bWAR will not help his case.

But, the five-time Gold Glove Award-winner was one of the best defenders at his position over his nearly two decades in the big leagues. Few shortstops are going to match Concepción's defensive bWAR of 21.4. Larkin's career defensive bWAR was 14.4. Derek Jeter, also a five-time Gold Glove recipient, was worth -9.4 bWAR on defense.

For his career, Dave Concepción posted an OPS of just .679, but he's also a two-time Silver Slugger and two-time World Champion. Concepción's nine All-Star selections are second on the Cincinnati Reds all-time list behind only the great Johnny Bench.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Dave Parker swings the bat.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Dave Parker swings the bat. / Rich Pilling/GettyImages

2. Dave Parker, Reds outfielder

I'm still at a loss as to why Dave Parker is not in the Hall of Fame. The former MVP spent just four years in his hometown of Cincinnati, but The Cobra deserves to have a plaque in Cooperstown. Parker was among the finalists on the Modern Baseball Era ballot in 2020, but fell short.

The Pittsburgh drug trials undoubtedly cast a shadow over Parker's candidacy, but Parker's on-the-field credentials speak for themselves. Parker won the MVP in 1978 while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Parker took home two batting titles, won three consecutive Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, and was a seven-time All-Star.

Dave Parker became just the second athlete to sign a contract worth $1M when he signed a five-year/$5M contract in 1979. Parker helped lead the Pirates to a World Series title that season. In the early 1980s, however, weight problems, injuries, and drug use halted what could have been a tremendous career.

Parker righted the ship in 1985 after signing with the Cincinnati Reds the previous year. The Cobra looked like his old self, leading the league in doubles and RBIs in 1985 while posting a ridiculous .916 OPS. Parker also hit a career-high 34 homers that year with the Redlegs.

Sports Contributor Archive 2019
Sports Contributor Archive 2019 / Ron Vesely/GettyImages

3. Vada Pinson, Reds outfielder

Perhaps more than any other player on this list, Vada Pinson deserves inclusion into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The fact that Pinson has been left out for so long is a disgrace. Pinson has a higher bWAR than both Dave Concepción and Dave Parker.

Pinson has a Gold Glove and four All-Star appearances to his credit, but Tennessee native was so much better than any accolades will show. Pinson was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1977, but has yet to join the elite in Cooperstown.

Pinson was a terrific centerfielder and was part of an outfield that featured Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. Pinson led the league in doubles twice, triples twice, and had 200-plus hits in four seasons. Pinson recorded 20 or homers in seven of his 18 years in the big leagues.

It'll be up to the Golden Days Committee to put Vada Pinson into the Baseball Hall of Fame and they failed to do that this past year. Pinson was on the Hall of Fame ballot for 15 years and never received above 15.7%. That is outrageous.

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While Pete Rose is obviously the biggest omission from the Baseball Hall of Fame, these three Cincinnati Reds players are all deserving to immortalized in Cooperstown as well. Hopefully, sometime in the near future, the Era Committees will right the wrong of the Baseball Writers.