Dave Parker, who led the Pittsburgh Pirates to the 1979 World Series, has Parkinson’s disease, according to Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Parker, 62, told the paper that he was first diagnosed with the disease in February 2012. Despite the diagnosis, Parker, who was named National League MVP in 1978, is remaining positive.
“There’s no fear,” Parker told the paper. “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.”
Parker was one of the most feared hitters during his 19-year career. He won back-to-back NL batting titles in 1977 and ’78 and finished with a .290 career batting average. He won two World Series — 1979 with the Pirates and 1989 with the Oakland Athletics.
Parker, a seven-time All-Star, also had one of the strongest arms in the outfield, helping him win three Gold Glove awards.
In addition to the Pirates and A’s, Parker played for the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, California Angels and Toronto Blue Jays.
After his playing career, Parker served as a first-base coach for the Anaheim Angels, batting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals and special hitting instructor for the Pirates. He owns Popeye’s Chicken franchises in Cincinnati.