[Bobby Del Greco]
[Joe B. Scott]
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Message to the Fans
David Gene "The Cobra" Parker (born June 9,
1951 in Calhoun, Mississippi) is an American former player in Major League
Baseball. He was the 1978 National League MVP and a two-time batting champion.
Played high school baseball at Courter Tech High School (Cincinnati,OH)
Born: June 9, 1951 (1951-06-09) (age 56)
Batted: Left Threw: Right
July 12, 1973
for the Pittsburgh Pirates
October 2, 1991
for the Toronto Blue Jays
Batting average .290
Home Runs 339
Pittsburgh Pirates (1973-1983)
Cincinnati Reds (1984-1987)
Oakland Athletics (1988-1989)
Milwaukee Brewers (1990)
California Angels (1991)
Toronto Blue Jays (1991)
Career highlights and awards
All-Star (NL): 1977, 1979, 1980-81, 1985-86,
All-Star (AL): 1990
N.L. MVP: 1978
M.L. All-Star Game MVP: 1979
Gold Glove Award (N.L.- OF): 1977-79
Silver Slugger (N.L.- OF): 1985-86, (A.L.- DH): 1990
Led NL in Slugging Percentage in 1975
Led NL in Batting Average, Hits, Doubles and Times on Base in 1977
Led NL in Batting Average, Slugging Percentage, OPS, Total Bases, Runs Created
and Intentional Walks in 1978
Led NL in Extra-Base Hits and Sacrifice Flies in 1979
Led NL in Total Bases, Doubles, RBI, Extra-Base Hits and Intentional Walks in
Led NL in Games and Total Bases in 1986
Ranks 43rd on MLB Career At Bats List (9,358)
Ranks 42nd on MLB Career Total Bases List (4,405)
Ranks 31st on MLB Career Doubles List (526)
Ranks 47th on MLB Career RBI List (1,493)
Ranks 42nd on MLB Career Extra-Base Hits List (940)
Ranks 24th on MLB Career Intentional Walks List (170)
He began his career on July 12, 1973 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he
played from 1973 to 1983. In 1977, he was National League batting champion, a
feat he repeated in 1978 when he was named the National League's MVP. The
Pirates rewarded him with baseball's first million-dollar-per-year contract. The
following year, he was an instrumental part of the Pirates' World Series
During a game in 1979, a powerful hit he made to right field was very difficult
to throw into the infield, because he had "knocked the cover off the ball." One
of the seams on the ball ruptured, making nearly half of the cover come loose.
In 1981, at a point in his career when it looked like he would one day rank
among the game's all-time greats, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him
in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. The authors, noting
that Parker had succeeded Roberto Clemente at the position, wrote, "Someone must
have a fondness for right field in Pittsburgh."
However, in the early 1980s, Parker's hitting suffered due to injuries, weight
problems and his increasing cocaine use. He became one of the central figures in
a drug scandal that spread through the major leagues. Parker was among several
players who testified against a dealer in the Pittsburgh drug trials, and he was
later fined by Major League Baseball for his admitted drug use.
At the end of the 1983 season, Parker became a free agent and signed with the
Cincinnati Reds. In Cincinnati, he returned to the form that made him an
All-Star in Pittsburgh. In 1985, he enjoyed his best season since he won the
1978 MVP with a .312 batting average, 34 home runs, and 125 RBI. Parker finished
second in 1985 MVP voting to Willie McGee.
After the 1987 season, Cincinnati traded Parker to the Oakland Athletics for
José Rijo and Tim Birtsas. In Oakland, Parker was able to extend his career by
spending most of his time as a designated hitter. Although injuries and age
caught up to him to a degree -- he hit just .257 with 12 homers in 377 ABs in
1988 and .264 with 22 homers in 553 ABs in 1989—his veteran leadership was a
significant factor in the A's consecutive World Series appearances.
Parker signed with Milwaukee for the 1990 season and had a solid season as the
Brewers DH with a .289 average and 21 home runs in 610 ABs. However, Milwaukee
opted for youth at the end of the year and traded the aging Parker for Dante
Parker's last season was 1991. He played for the Angels until late in the season
when he was released. Toronto signed him as insurance for the pennant race, and
Parker hit .333 in limited action. At the end of the year, Parker retired.
His career statistics are comparable with those of many Baseball Hall of Fame
members, though he has not yet been elected. Some career achievements include
2712 hits, 339 home runs, 1493 runs batted in and a lifetime batting average of
.290. Parker was also known as a solid defensive outfielder with a powerful arm.
From 1975 to 1979, he threw out 72 runners, including 26 in 1977.
He was a baseball All-Star in 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, and 1990. In
the 1979 All-Star Game, Parker showcased his defensive ability and powerful arm
by throwing out Jim Rice at third base (Rice tried to stretch a bloop double
into a triple) and Angels catcher Brian Downing at home on a base hit by Graig
Nettles. The latter play squelched an American League rally. Parker also
contributed an RBI on a sacrifice fly and was named the game's MVP.
He served as a First-Base Coach For Anaheim Angels Then a batting coach for the
St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and a special hitting instructor for Pittsburgh.
Today, Parker owns several Popeye's Chicken franchises in Cincinnati.
Parker is a good friend of former Cleveland Indians Third Baseman Brook Jacoby.
The two met at the 1990 All Star Game and still communicate today.
Source: Wikipedia.org at