TONIGHT: Stadium, thanks to '79 Series, will always be dear to Parker


The first time Dave Parker set foot in Memorial Stadium was in 1979. He was with Pittsburgh then, and the Pirates beat the Orioles in the World Series.

Parker will play at the stadium for the last time tonight when the Orioles meet the California Angels in the finale of a three-game set. It is the Angels' last appearance here of the season. When they visit next year, it will be in the new downtown park.

"One of my fondest memories was winning the 1979 World Series here," Parker said, glancing around the visitors' clubhouse after he hit career home run No. 336 in last night's 5-2 loss to the Orioles. "I lockered over there next to Willie Stargell. This place has a lot of tradition."

Parker batted .345 in the 1979 Series and drove in four runs. Since then, he has played for Cincinnati, Oakland, Milwaukee and now California. Just turned 40, he has put up some enviable numbers.

His home run last night tied him with Joe Adcock for 45th place on the all-time list. Just ahead are a couple of old Orioles, Don Baylor at 338 and Boog Powell at 339.

"I always thought I had the talent from Day One to collect numbers like this," Parker said. "It was a matter of getting here, and then enjoying the moment. After four or five years, I thought, 'Hey, maybe I got something here.' I've been fortunate enough to hang around. I'm blessed."

The Angels, who lead the 1991 rivalry, 6-5, need to win tonight to claim only their second winning season against the Orioles in the last 12 years.

Memorial Stadium will remain a special place for the Angels. It was here, on April 11, 1961, that Eli Grba beat Milt Pappas in the expansionist Los Angeles Angels' inaugural game.

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