CINCINNATI (Dec. 3, 2013) - Outfielders Ken Griffey, Jr. and Dave Parker, second baseman Ron Oester and 19th century first baseman Jake Beckley will be the next four players inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.
"The Class of 2014 showcases the great baseball heritage we have in Cincinnati with three of the four inductees being products of youth and high school baseball in the Queen City," said Rick Walls, executive director of the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum. "And the addition of 19th century star and National Baseball Hall of Famer Jake Beckley makes for arguably our strongest induction class ever."
One of the most gifted athletes to ever wear a Reds uniform, Ken Griffey, Jr., joined the Reds on Feb.10, 2000 following a trade with the Seattle Mariners, returning to Cincinnati where he starred at Moeller High School. During his inaugural season with the Reds, Griffey slugged 40 home runs, knocked in 118 runs, and was selected to represent Cincinnati at the 2000 All-Star game in Atlanta. During his career with the Reds, Griffey, Jr. would be selected to represent the club in two more All-Star games in 2004 and 2007. In 2005, Griffey, Jr. received the National League Comeback Player of the Year award and was selected as the Reds team MVP. He ranks 7th on the Reds all-time home run list with 210, 6th on the club's all-time list with a career on-base plus slugging percentage of .876, is tied for 4th on the Reds all-time list in career slugging percentage (.514), and is the only player in Reds history to hit his 500th and 600th career home runs as a Red. With his induction into the Reds Hall of Fame in the summer of 2014, he will join his father, Ken Griffey, Sr., as the only father-son combination in the Hall.
One of the most intimidating hitters of his era, outfielder Dave "The Cobra" Parker became the first major free agent acquisition in Reds history when he was signed by the club in December of 1983. Over the next four seasons, Parker was a fixture in the middle of the Reds lineup and was crucial to the club's resurgence to postseason contention. The Reds team Most Valuable Player each season from 1984 to 1986, Parker was also a two-time National League All-Star, a two-time Sporting News All-Star and was the winner of two Silver Slugger Awards during his Reds career. In 1985, Parker authored one of the most impressive offensive seasons in club history, batting .312 with a league-best 125 RBI and ranked second in the league in home runs (34), hits (198) and slugging percentage (.551). For his Reds career, Parker averaged nearly 27 home runs and 108 RBI per season. Raised in Cincinnati, Parker graduated from Courter Tech High School in 1970 and remains a resident of the Queen City.
A Cincinnati native and 1974 graduate of Withrow High School, second baseman Ron Oester played his 17-year professional baseball career in the Cincinnati Reds organization, including 13 years at the Major League level. Selected by the Reds in the ninth round of the 1974 amateur draft, Oester made his Major League debut in 1978 and began making regular appearances in the Reds lineup in 1980 when he appeared in 100 games and finished fourth in voting for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. In 1981, Oester enjoyed the first of six consecutive seasons as the Reds starting second baseman, a streak that was interrupted by a major knee injury he suffered in July of 1987. He won Major League Baseball's Hutch Award in 1988 after his successful return to the Reds everyday lineup. In his final season in 1990, Oester was a key player off the bench during the Reds World Championship season and scored the winning run in the Reds pennant-clinching game over the Pirates in Game 6 of the 1990 NLCS. After his playing career, Oester spent six seasons with the Reds as a Major League coach. He remains a Cincinnati resident.
Born in Hannibal, MO in 1867, first baseman Jake "Eagle Eye" Beckley was the Reds starting first baseman from the time of his acquisition in May of 1897 through the 1903 season. One of the top batters of his era, Beckley batted over .300 in six of his seven seasons with the Reds and his .325 career average as a Red ranks third on the club's all-time list. A complete offensive player, Beckley in various seasons ranked among the league's leaders in batting average, slugging percentage, hits, doubles, triples, home runs and RBI. His 77 triples as a Red ranks third on the franchise's all-time list, and at the time of his retirement from baseball in 1907, his 244 overall career triples ranked first in the history of the game. One of the period's true characters, Beckley was an aficionado of the hidden ball trick, successfully executing the play multiple times throughout his career. He was also known for his unorthodox bunting style that found him flipping the bat in his hands while the pitch was in flight and using the handle to hit the ball. Beckley was only 50 years old when he died of heart failure in 1918. He was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.
Established in 1958, The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame is the oldest continually operating team Hall of Fame in all of baseball. The Reds Hall of Fame & Museum features 15,000 square feet of historical, interactive and educational exhibits, highlighting the rich and storied tradition of the Cincinnati Reds. The mission of the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum is to celebrate greatness, preserve history and provide inspiration. Plan your visit at RedsMuseum.org.