Reds go to bat for special assistant Squeaky Parker
By Hal McCoy
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Sports pages are full of negativity — athletes using banned substances, athletes involved in fights and shootings outside night clubs, athletes fined for insubordination, referees betting on games they officiate.
So once in awhile it is heartening to hear positives, and Cincinnati Reds Special Assistant to the General Manager Squeaky Parker has one.
Parker is in his 41st year in professional baseball, working for the Phillies, Orioles, Pirates and now the Reds, signing notables such as Will Clark, Jeff Brantley, Matt Williams, Charlie Hayes, Milt Thompson and Mike Remlinger.
Last June, Parker suffered a stroke. And his contract was running out. He had been out of baseball a couple of years when former Reds General Manager Wayne Krivsky hired him in 2006, "and Wayne and I are like brothers," he said.
So it was frightening to Squeaky (his voice can be heard across crowded stadiums) when Krivsky was fired and replaced by Walt Jocketty in May.
Then came the stroke.
"I was scared to death," Parker said. "My contract was about to expire, which meant I'd lose my insurance and my salary."
Parker called Reds owner Bob Castellini and Jocketty, "And they both told me not to worry about a thing, just get well. They put me on disability and honored my contract, even though there was a disability clause in it and they didn't have to do it."
And that's not all. Castellini and Jocketty told Parker they would pay him for 2009 and keep him in the insurance plan.
"There isn't an organization I respect more than the Cincinnati Reds," he said. "They didn't have to do that. I'm as old as dope and I appreciate what they're doing for me. I hope to be healed enough to make spring training."
Nice to see professional baseball still has a heart.