Dave Parker: First Modern Era Home Run Derby Champ
In honor of tonight’s Home Run Derby in St. Louis, the Ohio Cards Blog would like to take time to pause in look back at a former all-star.
In the midst of this final years in Cincinnati, outfielder Dave Parker returned to his all-star form in 1985 and 1986 and in the process became the first home run derby champion of the modern era.
Parker, who is also a Cincinnati native, holds the honor of winning the first all-star game home run derby in 1985 mid-summer classic at Minneapolis’ Hubert H. Humphrey Dome.
For the first edition of the derby, five sluggers from each league squared off. The event was divided into a two inning affair with each contestant allotted five outs per inning.
Parker slugged six home runs and won the contest by two tallies.
The American League won the overall event 17-16 with four homes each from Jim Rice, Eddie Murrary, Carlton Fisk and Tom Brunansky.
Parker returned to defend his crown in 1986 at the cavernous Houston Astrodome, where he slugged three home runs. For the second edition of the derby, each league was represented by only three sluggers.
The National League trio of Darryl Strawberry, Parker and the Montreal Expos’ Hubie Brooks beat the American League 8-7. Strawberry and the California Angels’ Wally Joyner shared the individual title with four home runs each. Parker finished in second place.
Eric Davis is the only other Cincinnati Reds player to win the home run derby. He slugged three homers to win the 1991 contest in Anaheim.
Altogether the Reds have had seven representatives in the home run derby who have combined for 36 homers.
Other Cincinnati players who have participated in the derby include Paul O’Neill and Chris Sabo in 1991, Ron Gant and Reggie Sanders in 1995 and a second place showing by Ken Griffey Jr. in 2000. Junior Griffey won the derby 1998 and 1999 as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
The Reds are tied for third for the most home run derby wins with the Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees. The Seattle Mariners (Griffey) and Chicago Cubs have won the contest three times and Los Angeles Dodgers have won the derby two-and-a half times.