The Cincinnati Years
As a free agent, Dave Parker signed with his hometown Cincinnati Reds before the 1984 season. Parker had grown up rooting for Reds sluggers like Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson and he fit perfectly into Pete Rose's lineup in Cincinnati. In his first season as a Red, Parker hit .285 with 16 HR and a team high 94 RBI. In 1985, he nearly led the Reds back to the playoffs with a .312 average, 35 HR and a NL leading 125 RBI (both were career highs). He also led the league with 42 doubles, made the All-Star team and finished a close second to Cardinal Willie McGee in the MVP vote. 1985 was a tough one off the field as Parker admitted in court during the Pittsburgh drug trials that he used cocaine while on the Pirates in the early 1980s. Major League Baseball suffered a black eye when Parker and dozens of other players admitted drug use. None of the players were suspended but all were fined and place on probation
Back on the field in 1986 Parker was the only National Leaguer to play in all 162 games and he led the league in total bases while hitting .273 with 31 HR and 116 RBI. He made the All-Star team and finished 5th in the MVP vote. He followed with another solid season in 1987 in which he hit .253 with 26 HR and 97 RBI. But after the season the Reds traded him to the Oakland A's for future star Jose Rijo.
copyright © 2002 D. Nathan Baliva. All rights reserved.