I don’t know how these things happen, but sometimes when one enters the maze of the internet—idly clicking, reading, digging deeper and deeper into the labyrinth, one stumbles upon a shining beacon of wonder that transcends the overwhelming fray of content and stands alone, singular and apart and brilliant. This image happens to be that beacon. Thanks to a few fortuitous clicks and scrolls, I came upon this wonderful photograph by way of the Pitchers and Poets Tumblr, an internet destination that provides many excellent baseballing images that are good for looking at with your eyes. The image is of 1978 NL MVP, 7-time All-Star, and 2-time World Series Champion Dave Parker, and it is glorious. I’m not lying to you, dear reader, when I say that I will print this image out on photograph stock of mild quality—I will then purchase a cheap black frame, probably at the same shitty drug store from where I extract the print, and I will go home with both, drive a nail with a hammer, and hang the two in combination on the wall of my home. Sure, it will probably be inside a certain closet that I have in mind, away from the discerning eyes of my wife who probably doesn’t want a haunting image of a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball monster adorning her living room—but it will hang, and I will know of it, and I will look at it daily with fondness and awe and I will be inspired and filled with mirth.
The story of this image seems to go that in 1978, around the same time that Dave Parker was in the midst of a string of performances that placed him firmly in the discussion of best baseball player alive, he was party to a collision that fractured his jaw and cheekbone. Rather than sit out games, allowing for avoidance of pain and healing of said injuries, Dave Parker instead decided to wear that fucking cold-blooded mask and play on. In the internet time following my gleeful discovery, I came upon many other iconic Parker images, and assembled them together in the attached collection of badassness and unmitigated masculinity. Let’s open ourselves to the possibility of something greater than ourselves. Let’s stare into the abyss and and cackle with unhinged delight. Let’s look at these pictures of Dave Parker for a minute.