Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wes Parker Joins Rawlings Gold Glove Team

Wes Parker won six Rawlings
Gold Gloves in his nine-year career

Wes Parker, a former Los Angeles Dodger first baseman, was named to the all-time Rawlings Gold Glove team which was released Wednesday. He played his entire nine-year career for the Dodgers from 1964-1972.

He was a career .262 hitter, with his best season coming in 1970 when he hit .319 with 10 home runs and 111 RBI. For his career, Parker made just 45 errors at first base in his career and 49 overall. In 1,263 games he posted a .995 fielding percentage.

A few words from Wes:
This award wraps up my career in the most beautiful way possible. I did not expect it. I had a shorter career than the other honorees, have been retired the longest (one year longer than Willie Mays) and was not sure fans would remember me after 35 years away from the game.

Also, I am the only one of the nine who is not, or will not soon be, in the Hall of Fame, so am thrilled to have won.

I took great pride in my fielding. The first base position, I think, has been slighted over the years by players thinking they have only to catch throws and dig balls from the dirt to play it well. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dedicated first basemen charge bunts, range to their left and right for grounders, dive for balls, run all over the place for pop-ups and use their arms aggressively. They take risks, go after everything and defend their ground with pride and determination. And in doing all this they expand the position from one of passivity and conservatism to one of action, excitement, daring, beauty and grace.

I was lucky to have been born with good eyesight, quick reactions and a younger brother, Lyn, who for ten years smashed ground balls at me in our front yard. We were just two kids doing what we loved but that period between the ages of eight and 17 clinched for me the respect I have always felt for good defensive play and tried to exhibit during my nine-year career with the Dodgers.

Six months ago, when I first heard of my nomination, I was excited to be the lone Dodger representative among the other 50 and to be included among such fine men and long-time friends as Bill White, Brooks Robinson and the great Roberto Clemente. I am even more excited today to have learned that I finished on top at my position and for this I thank the many voting fans and friends around the country for recognizing my contributions. I also thank the O’Malley family for giving me the chance to play this wonderful game at the big league level, and the current Dodger organization for believing that I deserved to win.

Lastly, I thank Rawlings for their 50 years of honoring defensive excellence. I am proud to bring this award home to Los Angeles, prouder still to call it my own personal Hall of Fame.
Wes Parker

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