Reds induct four into team’s HOF

Published 1:31 am Monday, August 11, 2014

Jim Walker


CINCINNATI — The hometown is proud of its hometown products and that appreciation is being shown this weekend.

Cincinnati natives Ken Griffey Jr. Dave Parker and Ron Oester joined the late Jake Beckley as the members of this year’s Cincinnati Reds’ Hall of Fame class.

The quartet will be officially inducted into the Reds’ HOF during Sunday evening’s dinner that will bring the total to 79 members.

Griffey grew up in the Reds’ clubhouse while watching his father and Reds’ Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Sr.

An outfielder, Griffey Jr. was drafted out of Moeller High School by the Seattle and played with the Mariners for 11 seasons before the Reds acquired him via a trade.

Griffey Jr. played from 2000-08 with the Reds. He finished his career sixth on the all-time home run list with 630 over 22 seasons. He was the 1997 American League Most Valuable Player, a 13-time all-star and 10-time Gold Glove winner.

He hit 210 homers with the Reds including numbers 400, 500 and 600.

“My dad told me to be myself. He told me not try and be like anyone else. He said being myself was hard enough,” said Griffey Jr.

“This is quite an honor. I grew up watching these guys in the front row and they were the best team ever put together. I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done. I got a chance to wear the uniform that my dad wore and I think that’s the most important thing.”

Parker played at Courter Tech High School near the Reds’ former Crosley Field home before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1970.

“This is the greatest honor bestowed on me thus far. I would like to thank the Cincinnati Reds for allowing me to play at home and fulfilling a childhood dream of mine. I would like to thank the fans who supported me here,” said Parker who said his biggest thrill as a Red was being on the field when Pete Rose set the all-time record for career hits.”

Parker — who is battling Parkinson’s disease and has a foundation Cobra 39 — thanked the Reds’ players, organization and fans.

“I enjoyed playing here in Cincinnati and growing up here. Parkinson will not beat me. I will fight it until the end,” said parker. “I give a special thanks to the fans because without them there would be no need for me,” said Parker.

Parker won the 1978 National League MVP award and the strong-armed rightfielder helped the Pirates win the 1979 World Series.

In 1983, Parker — nicknamed The Cobra — was the first-ever free agent signed by the Reds. In his four seasons, he was a two-time all-star and led the NL with 42 doubles and 125 runs batted in 1985 while batting .312 and finishing second in home runs (34) and hits (198).

Parker was the team’s MVP three times during his four seasons with the Reds.

A 1974 graduate of Cincinnati Withrow High School, Oester spent his entire 13-year career with the Reds and helped the team win the 1990 World Series during his final season.

An outstanding defensive middle infielder, Oester hit .265 for his career.

“I dreamed of playing for the Cincinnati Reds but I never dreamed of being in the Hall of Fame. There’s not one word in the dictionary to describe how it feels,” said Oester.

Beckley was a 20-year career veteran first baseman who played from 1888-1907 including 1897-1903 with the Reds.

He batted .325 during his seven years in Cincinnati including .300 or better six times. He had 244 career triples, was one of the best at executing the hidden ball trick and had an unorthodox bunting style where he would flip the bat in his hands with the pitch in flight and bunt with the handle.

Beckley — who is third on the Reds’ all-time list with a .325 batting average — was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.