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Just because: Dave Parker playing baseball in a hockey mask

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Sure, file under "utterly apropos of nothing" if you must, but let us revisit the solemn occasion of Dave Parker's "hockey mask" days!

We already have unassailable evidence that the longtime Pirates masher was the last word in awesome, so what follows comes as no surprise.

The call on the bullpen phone? It's coming from inside the house.

Anyhow, Parker was reduced (elevated?) to wearing a goalie's mask against the Padres on July 16, 1978, because earlier that season he'd suffered a broken jaw during a collision with Mets catcher John Stearns.

Because Parker was both a) as tough as the Buicks of his day and b) critical to the Buccos' success, he returned from injury well ahead of schedule (while he was rehabbing, the Pirates forbid him to take batting practice, so Parker hit in secret off the pitching machine at a local park) but in need of added protection.

Added protection -- added frightening protection -- thy name is "goalie's mask."

For a bit of back-story, we'll turn to Mike Bodura's piece (headlined "The Masked Marvel Returns") in the July 17, 1978, edition of the News-Dispatch ...

You're darn right he was intentionally walked.

Sadly, Parker's days behind the mask were limited, as he soon switched to a football-style facemask so as to afford better visuals. But for a time we were kings, you, Dave Parker and I.

In closing and in the spirit of the times, let's do this thing in full, Curtis Mathis-quality color:

(Photo credits: eBay, Classic Kicks)

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