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Parker lobbies for HOF status

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With Jim Rice getting into the Hall of Fame in his final year of eligibility, it could give Dave Parker a boost on future ballots. Yet, Parker doesn’t believe it should have to come to that. Parker, who’s in town tonight for a reunion of the 1979 World Series champs, insists he should already be in the Hall.

“You can go into the Hall of Fame and pull out half of them and their numbers aren’t as good as mine,” said Parker, who hit .290 with 339 homers over 19 seasons. “There are very few in there who have gone in recently who were as important to their team as I was. I was always The Guy or one of The Guys. I became one of The Guys at the latter part of my career, at (age) 39 or 40. I was probably one of the most instrumental guys, as far as my teams having success.”

Parker was not The Guy with the ’79 Pirates — that honor, of course, belonged to Willie Stargell. But Park does make a valid point about his productivity. Parker’s image was tarnished, and his chances of making the Hall were diminished, by his admitted drug use and the 1985 MLB drug trial which was conducted in Pittsburgh.

“That could be part of it,” Parker admitted. “I should have won the MVP that year, by the way. There was a trial. I took responsibility for my participation in it. That happened 24 years ago. And along with that, you’ve got the steroid issue now. Baseball and the United States are supposed to be two forgiving entities — why haven’t they forgiven me? Deal with me for what I’ve done and for my numbers and just forgive. In ’75, my first year as a regular (starter), people started identifying me as one of the best players in the game, and then later on as the best player. If the media can do that, they should be able to look at me and look at my numbers and say, ‘This guy is a Hall-of-Famer.’ “

• Parker grinned when I asked him what kind of damage he could’ve done with PNC Park as his home field.

“I don’t know, but I would’ve loved to try it,” he said.

Audio: Aug. 22 – Parker
Return to Pittsburgh
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• Andrew McCutchen probably is the closest thing the Pirates have had to Omar Moreno since … well, Omar Moreno.

“I’ll have to go meet him today,” Moreno said. “I want to see him play.”

Moreno, who operates a baseball school in his native Panama, was visibly happy to be back around with his old teammates.

“In Pittsburgh, I feel like I’m in my second country,” he said.

• With Ronny Cedeno out, utility man Luis Cruz tonight made just his third start. Cruz can play a lot of positions, but in a way that works against him being in the starting lineup “He is so versatile (and) when it gets late in the game you need that guy on the bench,” Russell said. “He has so much value that way, sometimes it hinders him getting in the lineup. “With the role he’s in, we’re not expecting him to hit. We need him to play defense more than anything.”

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