They called Dave Parker “The Cobra” and the nickname fit. He could strike with his bat, his legs and his throwing arm and during the last half of the 1970’s he could arguably make a claim as the best player in the league; in fact he did make that claim.
The stats agree with Mr. Parker. He was the most dangerous player at the plate and if he wasn’t aiming for the fences, he would calmly stroke a base hit and get on base. Parker had a beast of an arm from the outfield and was as good defensively as he was with the bat. He was so good and beloved in Pittsburgh that he was able to make fans forget that Roberto Clemente was not in the field anymore. That in itself is one impressive feat.
Sadly for Parker, cocaine is a hell of a drug. His increasing weight, numerous injuries and drug problems made him the shell of the player he was in the early 80’s and the love he had in Pittsburgh went away.
The 1978 National League MVP did resurrect his career in Cincinnati and posted good numbers but his lost years in Pittsburgh may have prevented him from hitting the 3,000 hit plateau.
Make no mistake about how good Dave Parker was. Sure he had problems in the early 80’s but he didn’t go away and became a star again mid-way through the decade. With Jim Rice getting in, a look at the similar numbers of “The Cobra” may be in order.
The Hall of Very Good™ Class of 2017 is presented by Out of the Park Developments, the creators of the wildly popular baseball simulation game Out of the Park Baseball. Out of the Park Developments has made a generous donation to The Hall.