Huffpost Sports

Dave Parker Coping With Parkinson's Disease Years After Stellar MLB Career

Posted: Updated:
PITTSBURGH - CIRCA 1980: Outfielder Dave Parker of the Pittsburgh Pirates stands in front of the dugout during a game at Three Rivers Stadium circa 1980 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) | Getty

PITTSBURGH (AP) — 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."

Around the Web

Former Athletics slugger Dave Parker has Parkinson's disease ...

Former slugger Dave Parker coping with Parkinson's - Yahoo! Sports

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

Former Pirates, A's slugger Dave Parker dealing with Parkinson's ...

Report: Dave Parker has Parkinson's - Fox Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates great Dave Parker battling Parkinson's disease ...

Report: Dave Parker battling Parkinson's disease | ...

Former Pirates star Dave Parker says he has Parkinson's disease ...

Former slugger Dave Parker coping with Parkinson's - San Jose ...

Dave Parker has Parkinson's disease | HardballTalk

Former slugger Dave Parker coping with Parkinson's

Dave Parker says he is fighting Parkinson's

Pirates great Dave Parker has Parkinson's disease

Former Pirate Parker has Parkinson's disease

Dave Parker, Pittsburgh Pirates Legend, Has Parkinson's Disease

Former Pirates All-Star Parker Fighting Parkinson's Disease

Former Pirates star Parker coping with Parkinson's

MLB notebook: Lewis's comeback hits snag

Jonathan Broxton to be eased back into role

Around sports: Ex-UH coach Lewis to attend Basketball Hall induction

From Our Partners