You remember how Dave Parker’s legendary career ended up, right?

Of course, Parker lit his star on fire during a decade-long tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates that included a monster season in 1978 that netted him the National League Most Valuable Player award.

But …

To me, the heart of Cobra’s storied run in the big leagues began in December of 1983, when he signed a free agent deal with my Cincinnati Reds.

And it all wrapped up in December of 1987, when the Reds traded him to the Oakland A’s. That deal, though, makes me begrudgingly acknowledge that Parker had a post-Cincy run.

After all, part of the Reds’ return for their big slugger was Jose Rijo, and you don’t land a World Series-winning ace for a guy who’s done.

So, yes, I remember Parker with the A’s.

You probably do, too.

And if you were a collector in the early 1990s or paid special attention to also-ran teams of the era, you might remember big Dave swinging a pretty potent DH bat for the 1990 Milwaukee Brewers at age 39.

You know, back when the Brewers were in the league they belong in?

And if you remember that, well, there’s an outside chance you followed Cobra’s story into the next spring, when he was prepping for another go-round with the Brew Crew. Then — BAM! — traded to the California Angels, back when they had their name right.

Parker hit 11 home runs for the Halos that summer and even made an appearance on some California cardboard.

But in September, after batting .232 in 119 games, Parker was released.

And he didn’t play at all in 1992, or ever again.

So, if you remember that Parker wound down his career with the Angels in 1991, you have pretty solid baseball recall.

But not perfect. Because after the Brewers bid him adieu, and before he found no takers in free agency that fall, Cobra did find one final base from which to strike.

Signing on with the Toronto Blue Jays on September 14, Parker made ten starts at DH down the stretch as the Jays captured the American League East title.

Toronto went on to lose the ALCS to the eventual World Series-champion Minnesota Twins in five games, but Parker wasn’t part of that soiree.

What he was part of, though, was the 1992 Upper Deck set, where he appeared in his true final big league uniform:

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Who knows?

Maybe if Parker had played in that postseason, we’d remember his short time with the Blue Jays a little more clearly.

Heck, maybe the Jays would have begun their Series run a year earlier and strung together three titles before the 1994 strike killed everything.

And maybe Parker would have stuck around the SkyDome awhile longer.


What’s for sure, though, is that we have irrefutable proof of Parker’s tiny run in Toronto to end his career, thanks to an Upper Deck card that looks great … even if strange as all get-out.


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1992 Upper Deck Baseball 36ct Factory Sealed Wax Box

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1992 Upper Deck #G47 Boomer Esiason Gold

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