Former MLB Player Dave Parker Shares His Perspective on Parkinson's Disease
"A reporter asked me why was I wearing the star of David. I told him my name's David and I'm a star." -Dave Parker, The Undefeated.
Many know former Pirates and Reds' player Dave Parker from his swagger and wit in the MLB. From being a forceful presence in the field to training young kids in the P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy, it's safe to say that Parker has made an important mark in the history of baseball.
But, now, Parker joins a long list of athletes who have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Alongside legends like the late Muhammad Ali, Kirk Gibson and Jimmy Piersall, 'The Cobra' Dave Parker is fighting this disease daily with exercise and medication, while using his foundation to help find a cure.
Dave Parker had a long and successful baseball career.
Dave Parker was drafted by the Pirates in 1970, shortly after his graduation. Parker quickly rose to fame, and his teammates looked up to him with pride. Parker batted during the 1970’s and 80’s for six Major League teams, including the Reds and the Pirates.
He ended his career as a seven-time All-Star and has won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award three times. However, Parker did not make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was listed in the ballot alongside Luis Tiant, Steve Garvey, and Dale Murphy, among others, for 15 years.
The peak of his candidacy was in 1998 with 24.5% of the vote, and the final year in 2011 wherein he received 15.3% of the vote.
Dave Parker’s quest for the Hall of Fame is not his biggest battle. Now, he faces Parkinson's disease. Parker was diagnosed with Parkinson’s back in 2012 while he was examined for his routine physical.
He noticed the symptoms before he was diagnosed. Once while playing golf, he noticed a slight trembling in his hand. At first, he didn't take it seriously, and Parker thought it was normal until his physician noticed the same trembling. He was then referred to a neurologist, who diagnosed it as Parkinson's disease. Parker remarked, “My doctor said it looked like I had a little touch of Parkinson’s.”
After his diagnosis, Parker had many unanswered questions. Could playing have caused him to have a slight tremor in his hands? Could it have affected his balance as well? What about his issues with speech? These questions left him frustrated and stressed, especially because it seemed that no one had the right answers.
Read on to learn more about what former baseball player Dave Parker believes Parkinson's disease means for him.
Photo source: Dave Parker/Youtube