December 7, 1983: The Reds sign Dave Parker of the Pirates to a free agent contract.
Although free agency came into existence in 1976, Parker was the first significant free agent the Reds acquired. Parker won the NL MVP award in 1978, but injuries and weight problems robbed him of much of his power and he became a villain in Pittsburgh. A graduate of Courter Tech High School, Parker revived his career in his hometown. In four seasons with the Reds, he hit .281 in 631 games with 107 homers and 432 RBIs.
All “Reds trivia” posts come from Greg Rhodes and John Snyder’s fabulous book, “Redleg Journal” (see link for purchasing) and are used with Greg’s permission.
Thanks again to Greg Rhodes for permission to use his material.
Comment: Greg and John don’t mention another reason for Parker’s fall from grace in Pittsburgh, his drug problems. Nevertheless, it can be argued that Parker is the Reds All Time best FA signing and, 4 years later, almost to the day, he was traded to Oakland in a deal that brought Jose Rijo to the Reds.