The kid people
knew in Cincinnati as D.P. was part of a close, industrious family. He fought
in the streets, but he also supported himself with various jobs from the time
he was 14.
And I always
played ball," says Parker. "When I was a little kid I lived two streets
over from Crosley Field, and I loved the Reds. One time I saw Frank Robinson
and Vada Pinson getting out of a car. I was dumbfounded standing there. And
Frank gave me a glove. That tripped me out. I told my mother when I was nine
that I was going to grow up and play ball and buy her a house.
right there outside the stadium. I learned to slide on concrete. We played in
Levi's, and it took some technique. I very seldom skint myself.
apply myself. And I haven't peaked yet. I am the lead talent in baseball today.
I'm going to get 3,000 hits. I'm going to set the record for most hits in a
game. This year, when the leaves turn brown, I'll have the Triple Crown. I'm
probably going to bat .400 one day. It may sound unreal, but I think in terms
of dreams that are dreamt to be lived."
One night during
spring training Parker and a friend from Atlanta went to the dog track in St.
Petersburg, and Pete Rose's wife Karolyn came by. They established that Dave
and Karolyn had grown up in adjoining neighborhoods in Cincinnati—Parker said
he used to "terrorize" the grocery store where Karolyn shopped. They
gossiped a while, and then they got to talking about hustle and money and
You might think
that a millionaire ballplayer and another one's wife would be a little blas�
about the subject of playing ball, but Parker and Karolyn seemed to get more
and more excited.
"You love the
game!" she cried suddenly.
exclaimed Parker, and you could have kept a whole clubhouse lit up and
rollicking for years with the look in his eyes.