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Dave Parker has Parkinson’s disease

Aug 6, 2013, 8:50 AM EDT

Dave Parker smoking

Sad news reported by Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Pirates great Dave Parker has Parkinson’s disease.

Good news: the disease, diagnosed in February of last year, is not progressing rapidly. Also good: Parker’s attitude:

“There’s no fear,” Parker said. “I’ve had a great life. I always dreamt of playing baseball, and I played. I’m 62 years old and fortunate to make it to this point. I have some beautiful kids that I got to watch grow up and become adults. My fingerprints are on the baseball industry. I feel good about that. I have nothing to feel bad about.”

A good story about a great player dealing with some tough news.

Good luck, Cobra.

  1. louhudson23 - Aug 6, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    Hang tough…

  2. jarathen - Aug 6, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    What a great outlook. Gratitude for leaving his mark on the game but also that he got to see his kids grow up.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      We all know that there are idiots out on the web, but it amazes me at the number of thumbs down to this comment.

      Parker does have a great outlook on his situation based on his quote and sadly not everyone lives to see their children grow up and become adults.

      I’m sorry for all those whose lives are that unhappy that they have to thumb something like this down.

      • jarathen - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        Forget it, sportsfan8; it’s HardballTalk.

  3. uyf1950 - Aug 6, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    Best Wishes, Dave Parker a member of the Golden Era of of the Pirates the 70’s.

  4. dexterismyhero - Aug 6, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    Why would they use that picture? Cigarette or doobie?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:20 AM

      It was the 70s. Just a very different time.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        Were they ever…

    • pjmitch - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      That is why Craig used the picture….

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:31 AM

      Looks like a splif to me. Anywho…best wishes to the Cobra. One of the best arms the game has seen.

  5. historiophiliac - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    Off topic, but that uni/cap was bad a$$ (and, yes, it needed the $).

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      Yeah…the Pirates’ Jersey’s (regardless of the era) have always been one of my favorites.
      Probably top 2 or 3. And that cap was badass.

    • nderdog - Aug 6, 2013 at 2:39 PM

      Agreed. I have the hat already (although I can’t wear it often because my wife thinks it looks stupid) but will be picking up a similar jersey soon. My mother has Parkinsons, so what better way to support her while I support my team?

  6. broncsfan72 - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    Stay Strong. Enjoy life.

  7. pisano - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    God bless him, he was one of the best of his time, fun to watch him and that team, I hope these current Pirates make him proud. I like his attitude, hopefully he’ll have a lot of years with us.

  8. rbj1 - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    Best of luck to him. At least it’s later in life and not early onset Parkinson’s.

  9. dirtyharry1971 - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Great player, always thought he should have gotten a closer look for the HOF, hopefully he is ok.

  10. kingjoe1 - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Good Luck. He was always my favorite non-Phillies player.

  11. koufaxmitzvah - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    What hooked me on baseball as a kid was KTTV’s intro montage to the Dodgers telecast that ended with Dave Parker turning the corner at 3rd and unleashing a head first barrel of determination into Steve Yeager who tumbled over with a double backward somersault. (Of course, it was the Dodgers telecast, so Steve Yeager stands up with his glasses all cockeyed and shows the ump the ball.)

    Thanks, Dave. Keep your fighting spirit.

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      Great game last night Sandy. You guys are playing some serious ball over the last month and half. 15th consecutive road win to boot? Solid.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:10 AM

        The Dodgers have had an unfair advantage over the competition since I moved my one-size-too-large cap from off the hat rack and onto the coffee table with the bill pointed at the TV. They’ve really taken off since then.

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Cut that shit out then. I suggest you turn it around for game #2…just to put it to the test.

    • yahmule - Aug 6, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      I saw that game. Yeager got blasted a few times in his career, but that one was in a separate category.

      Parker was an outstanding player. Back to back batting titles. An MVP award and four more top five finishes in MVP voting. He also enjoyed the spotlight. He used to wear a Star of David and when asked why, he said, “Because I’m David and I’m a star.”

      I wish him all the best.

      • artisan3m - Aug 6, 2013 at 3:18 PM

        Saw that play several times in highlights but the one I remember best is in a game I was actually watching life. Parker tracks down a fly ball deep to RF then gunned it from the wall to the plate to throw out a runner trying to score from 3rd on what would be a sac fly for any other fielder. I don’t think the ball ever got more than ten feet high. I’ve never seen an arm that could match his. Best of luck, Dave ~ you were a great player and are a humble man with a tremendous attitude.

  12. bronxsanman - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Best of luck to you Mr.Parker.Always a class act.Still to this day I remember that catch and throw em out at home in the 77′ playoffs I believe. I was eight yrs old at the time,and its still one of my childhood memories that ill never forget.Thank You!

  13. irishdodger - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    The Cobra was one of my favorites. His numbers are worthy of HoF consideration. He was a great all around hitter (avg + power) and had a cannon for an arm.

    Funny story about Parker: a reporter noticed Parker was wearing a Star of David emblem on his necklace so he asked him about it. Parker replied, “b/c my name is David & I’m a star”. I’m paraphrasing but it was classic!

    • yahmule - Aug 6, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      Cool story, which I should have read before posting the same thing.

  14. dlf9 - Aug 6, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    I have no ill will towards Dave Parker and have fond memories of his play in the 70s and 80s for the Pirates, Brewers, A’s, and Reds. But …

    I find the juxtaposition between the positive posts about Parker and the venom spilled towards Alex Rodriguez to be depressing. One of the two selfishly used illegal drugs and caused direct harm to his teamates, management, and fans. The other is Rodriguez. The worst that can be said about Alex is that he cut corners in order to get better for himself and his team. Parker, on the other hand, was a central figure in the Pittsburgh cocaine trails and the rampant drug use that utterly destroyed the strong Pirates clubs of the 60s and 70s.

    I don’t get it.

    • yahmule - Aug 6, 2013 at 11:30 AM

      I don’t get your inability to contextualize events that occurred several decades apart. Do you honestly believe Dave Parker didn’t catch a ton of criticism and grief when all of that came down? Do you think right after he reveals he has a life changing illness, the first thing we need to do is kick him for crimes he already paid for in court of law and in the eyes of the public? An extremely confident black athlete who got arrested for cocaine. How many HOF voters stopped considering his case right there?

      And if nobody except Craig has noticed, outsized outrage at the demonization of Rodriguez is trite beyond words at this point. Is he getting railroaded a little bit? Looks like it. Pretty much a combination of bad timing, his own actions and his unsympathetic personality. Once his career is over, people will evaluate him more fairly. Expecting perspective while he’s smack in the middle of the current news cycle is to be deliberately obtuse.

  15. irishdodger - Aug 6, 2013 at 11:40 AM


    Parker caught plenty of heat amid the cocaine trials and years afterwords. It was his scarlet letter & probably cost him induction into the HoF. Look at his numbers pre-PED era. He could of hung around as a DH and got 3000 hits, etc, but he didn’t. Finally, the guy has paid for his sins & has now a horrible debilitating disease w/ no cure. Ten-twenty years from now when this A-Rod scandal is over, he’ll be looked at sympathetically if he come down w/ a life threatening disease as well.

  16. teambringitstrong - Aug 6, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Wow, the Cobra. I remember him and Pops from the Lumber Company. When he was on the A’s 89 team I remember how quiet and somber he and the A’s were, just sipping beer quietly in the clubhouse after sweeping the Giants b/c of the tragedy of the earthquake that year.
    In 1992 I met him at a Footaction store, Kenwood Town Centre in Cincinnati. The store manager said to him, ‘Dave, you look like you’re still in pretty good shape’. Dave replied, ‘Come grab me and see what kinda shape I’m in’. CLASSIC.

  17. modellforprez - Aug 6, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Good luck Dave! All of the Bucco Nation will be pulling for you and keep you in our prayers.

  18. nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 6, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Parkinson’s sucks. We hope for a cure some day. Best one can hope for these days is slow progression and better meds to control the involuntary movements. All people of good cheer wish Mr Parker the best in this fight. As for his remark: “My fingerprints are on the baseball industry.” More specifically, his fingerprints are on the World Series trophy.

  19. dutchman45 - Aug 6, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    May the good lord bless and keep a great guy healthy.

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