Alumnus Wes Parker Nominated for All-Time Gold Glove Team
Former CMS Stags first baseman Wes Parker, who signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1963, has been nominated for the Rawlings All-Time Gold Glove Team. Parker will compete with five others on the fan ballot that will determine the best defensive players at each position since the inception of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 1957. Nominees were voted on by a panel of baseball officials, managers, broadcasters, historians, and writers and announced in New York City on February 20.
As a varsity athlete at Claremont McKenna College, “Wes had tremendous range both to his left and right,” recalls Bill Arce, former baseball coach and founding director of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps athletics program. “He got to more baseballs than other first-basemen and of course the more balls you get to, the greater the chance for errors. He scooped errant throws out of the dirt even when he had to stretch wide to his right or left.”
Parker majored in history during his time at CMC and played both varsity football and baseball. Arce says that often unnoticed was the fact that “Wes had an extremely accurate throwing arm, with a quick release that he never hesitated to use when a runner took too big a turn at second or third bases.”
Parker won six straight Gold Gloves in Los Angeles from 1967-72 and played his entire career with the Dodgers from 1964-72. The graceful fielder finished fifth in the 1970 NL MVP vote after hitting .319 with 47 doubles and 111 RBI and also helped the Dodgers win the 1965 World Series over the Twins, hitting .304 with a homer and two RBIs while playing error-free baseball in the seven-game series.
In 1968, Parker made just one error at first base, which was controversial, as it came on an Astroturf bounce at the Houston Astrodome. The switch-hitter retired after the 1972 season with a Major League record .996 fielding percentage at first, making just 45 errors in 10,380 chances. Parker is now part of the Dodgers Speakers Bureau, where he attends community events and works closely with the Dodgers Dream Foundation.
Parker will be up against Don Mattingly, Vic Power, Bill White, Keith Hernandez and J.T. Snow for the honor of best defensive first baseman, which can be voted on by fans from now until June 19, with results announced in mid-summer. More than 400,000 votes have already been cast.
Other former Dodgers on the Rawlings Gold Glove Ballot include outfielder Devon White, pitcher Greg Maddux and third baseman Ken Boyer. Since Rawlings began handing out the Gold Glove Award in 1957, 18 different Dodgers have taken home the honor 34 times, including Gil Hodges, who was on the inaugural team at first base.
Fans may cast their votes at: http://www.rawlingsgoldglove.com/, by mail, or by texting the message “vote” to 22122, and then choosing the numbers that correspond to the ballot, which can be found on the Web site.