Former slugger Dave Parker coping with Parkinson’s

Seven-time major league All-Star Dave Parker is dealing with

Parkinson’s disease.

Parker told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he was

diagnosed with the disease in February 2012. Parker’s condition was

first reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

”I went in for a physical, went through the whole physical and

my hand was shaking,” Parker said by telephone. ”The docs saw it

and I said I’ve been having problems with that. They said `Yeah,

you got Parkinson’s, that’s how I found out.”

Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder that gradually takes a

toll on the nervous system. Notable figures with the disease

include Muhammad Ali and actor Michael J. Fox. The 62-year-old

Parker said his older sister is also suffering from Parkinson’s.

The 1978 National League MVP is able to get by without medication

at this point and relies on a healthy diet and plenty of exercise,

including at least an hour a day on his bicycle.

He got in his usual round of golf on Wednesday, rushing a bit to

beat afternoon thundershowers.

”I’m managing it pretty well,” he said.

Nicknamed ”Cobra” because of his lethal bat and cannon-like

arm, Parker hit 339 home runs during a 19-year career with five

teams, most notably the Pittsburgh Pirates. He helped Pittsburgh

win the 1979 World Series and was named MVP of the All-Star game

that year after a pair of outfield assists helped the National

League pull out a 7-6 victory.

Parker won another title with the Oakland A’s in 1989, when he

hit 22 homers and drove in 97 runs at age 38. He is still active in

the game, occasionally working as a hitting coach. Parker said he

believes the Pirates, in first-place in the NL Central, are ready

to end two decades of losing.

”I know the fans are used to winning when I played,” Parker

said. ”They desperately need a winning season. (Twenty) years of

losing baseball is unacceptable as far as I concerned. When I

played, we threw everything out on the field and including the

kitchen sink. It’s nice to see these guys doing the same.”