the Pirates, Parker plays hard all the time, and sometimes what he plays is
almost football. Last June, while trying to score a tying run against the Mets
on a short fly to left, he smashed into Catcher John Stearns. "I was on
deck," says Stargell, "and when I saw the look in Dave's eyes it was
eerie. I saw this wildness, and then it was like an A-bomb."
"John had the
ball," recalls Parker, "and he had a satisfied look on his face. My
running-back instincts came back. I tried to put my face in his face."
Stearns, who used
to play some defensive back, held on to the ball. The left side of Parker's
face was flattened, the cheekbone was shattered, blood was jetting from his
eye. "The doctors tried to fix it by going through my mouth, but that
didn't work, so they had to go in through my nose," Parker says.
But Parker was no
sooner out of surgery than he was back in the clubhouse—yelling, "enjoying
the atmosphere," with a hugely swollen head. After missing 11 games he
returned to the lineup wearing a hockey goalie's mask during batting practice
and a football faceguard, which he will continue wearing this season, during
says, "I gave this team my cheek. I was pretty before I lost my cheek. And
I'm crazy about the guys. For Willie and me both to hit 30 home runs and drive
in 100 runs in one year—I'd give up a batting title for that. And a guy like
John Milner, he's the solid earth." In the dressing room, however, what
Parker tends to bellow to Milner is, "Bleep-bleep, you ain't
mixes compliments with obloquy, as when he says of Dale Berra, a mild-mannered,
defensively adept infielder who happens to be Yogi's son, "Berra, he don't
know where we are or what day it is, but he can pick it. Hey, Dale! What time
is it? Where are we at?"
stupid," says Berra, calmly. There is room in the Pirate clubhouse even for
Parker is usually
on the attack, but he takes his share of heat. When he showed up in camp late
for spring training, Garner was all over him, waving his finger in his face and
yelling, "Here we've been busting our tails for two days and where were
"If I hit
like you do," replied Parker, while managing to beam and glower at the same
time, "I'd've been here since Christmas!"
clubhouse," says Parker, "it's like I'm talking to my brother, saying,
'I'm bad. Nobody's badder than me.' But away from the guys, I try to say, you
know, 'I'm managing.' I was talking that way to an old friend of mine in
Cincinnati, and he thought I was insulting him. Said, 'That's not the D.P. I
knew.' So, you know, I went back to 'I'm bad.' "