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Dave Parker    

David Gene Parker was born June 9, 1951 in Calhoun, Mississippi and is an American former player in Major League Baseball.

The 1978 NL MVP and two-time batting champion is an outspoken proponent for his own induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, though he has continually failed to garner enough votes.

Dave Parker began his career on July 12, 1973 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he played from 1973 to 1983. In 1978 he was named the National League's MVP. The following year, he was instrumental on the Pirates' World Series championship team.

In the early 1980s, his hitting suffered due to his increasing cocaine use, and 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 and 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.

In 1987, Cincinnati traded Parker to the Oakland Athletics for Jose Rijo and Tim Birtsas. In Oakland, Parker could extend his career by spending time at designated hitter. However, injuries and age caught up to him. In his best season in Oakland, he hit only .264 with 22 homers.

He signed with Milwaukee for the 1990 season and had a solid season as the Brewers DH with a .289 average and 21 home runs. However, Milwaukee opted for youth at the end of the year and traded the aging Parker for Dante Bichette.

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. 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.

He served as 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.

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Former NL MVP Dave Parker is battling Parkinson's disease ...

Long-time big league slugger Dave Parker confirmed he has been coping with Parkinson's disease since last year.

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