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Ace Parker

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Clarence McKay Parker
(Ace)

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[edit] Biographical Information

Better known as an NFL Hall of Famer, infielder Clarence "Ace" Parker played briefly in the majors with the Philadelphia Athletics.

Parker attended Duke University, where he starred at both baseball and football. On the gridiron, he finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting as a senior in 1936 and also was an All-American that year. Signed by the Athletics after graduation, he made his big league debut on April 24th, 1937 as a pinch runner, and he homered off Wes Ferrell of the Boston Red Sox in his first major league at-bat six days later. Despite his early heroics, he struggled at the plate that season, hitting just .117 in 38 games with Philadelphia. After the season, he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers of the NFL and made his pro football debut.

Back with Philadelphia in 1938, Parker performed better at the plate, hitting .230 over 56 games, but it would be his final year in the majors. He continued to play in the minors for several years while starring in the NFL, winning the league's MVP award in 1940. After several years away from sports while serving in the military during World War II, he returned to both the NFL and minor league baseball, joining his hometown Portsmouth Cubs of the Piedmont League. He spent 1948 as player-manager of the team and then filled the same role for the Durham Bulls for four years.

Following his playing days, Parker was the head baseball coach at Duke from 1953 to 1966, posting a 166-162-4 record over that span and leading the school to the College World Series in 1953 and 1961. He was also an assistant football coach for the Blue Devils.

Parker was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972. He turned 100 in 2012, and at the time of his death the following year, he was the second oldest former major leaguer (behind Connie Marrero) and the oldest former NFL player and NFL Hall of Famer.

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