Local Cincy street named in Dave Parker’s honor

November 2nd, 2023

The City of Cincinnati, the South Cumminsville neighborhood and the Cincinnati Reds recognized MLB legend and Reds Hall of Famer Dave Parker by dedicating a street in his name near his childhood home on Wednesday.

As of Nov. 1, Borden Street in South Cumminsville now has the secondary name of “Dave Parker Way.” The honor recognizes Parker for his contributions to the Cincinnati community and his lasting impact on baseball. Parker’s childhood home, which he moved into 65 years ago, was just four houses down from where the event took place at the corner of Borden Street and Elmore Street.

“I’m really honored to be here today, because this is where it all started,” Parker said. “I’ve seen people today I used to play baseball with, go to school with. It was a pleasure growing up here. And I drive through here on occasion just to reminisce, because this is it.

“This is where it started and made me the individual that I am.”

Among the crowd of well over 100 that were on hand to salute Dave Parker were other city officials, local dignitaries, former teachers, friends, local residents and fans.Brendan Hader/Reds

With Reds Community Fund executive director Charley Frank emceeing, the ceremony kicked off with the introduction of Cincinnati City Councilmember Mark Jeffreys. He pulled out a Dave Parker baseball card, the first baseball card he had as a kid.

“Dave has always been a personal hero of mine and an icon,” Jeffreys said. “So, when the South Cumminsville community council approached me wanting to honor him where he grew up, I said it would be my honor. The amount that he’s given back to the city of Cincinnati is phenomenal.

“It’s an absolute privilege to sponsor this street unveiling in his name. I really appreciate him for touching my life as a young child and his everlasting contribution to the great sport of baseball and to our city.”

In addition to Parker and Jeffreys, speakers at the ceremony included: vice mayor of Cincinnati Jan-Michele Kearney; South Cumminsville Community Council president Derrick Feagin; Hamilton County commissioner Alicia Reece; Reds president and COO Phil Castellini; fellow Reds Hall of Famers George Foster and Ron Oester; and Parker’s longtime friends Tim Williams and Charles Hampton.

Among the crowd of well over 100 that were on hand to salute Parker were other city officials, local dignitaries, former teachers, friends, local residents and fans.

Parker was accompanied by his wife, Kellye, and several members of his family. From start to finish, the whole event felt like a family affair with all the stories told and love shown to the man known as “The Cobra.”

What was truly a special morning concluded with a proclamation declaring Nov. 1 “Dave Parker Day” and the reveal of the Dave Parker Way sign.

“Congrats to Dave on this well-deserved honor,” Castellini said. “The Reds are so proud the neighborhood includes you as a marquee of its importance in Reds history. It’s performances such as yours where you have met life’s ups and downs with determination, grace and grit that will inspire the next great player to emerge from our local ballfields.

“Thank you, Dave, and thank you, Kellye, for all you’ve done for the Reds. You continue to make our Reds family proud.”

Parker and his family moved to Borden Street in South Cumminsville when he was seven years old. He attended Courter Tech High School before being selected by the Pirates in the 1970 MLB Draft.

Parker joined his hometown team when the Reds acquired one of the most notable free agents in franchise history in 1984. The outfielder played for Cincinnati through the 1987 season, and he was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2014 as part of the “all-Cincinnati class,” alongside Ken Griffey Jr. (Moeller High School) and Oester (Withrow High School).

“Dave is a great friend, great ballplayer and great humanitarian,” Foster said. “He’s deserving of having a street named after him. I want to congratulate him and all the friends that are here to acknowledge the fact that he’s a great person and great ballplayer. And he should be in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame.”

That last line delivered by Foster was a sentiment shared by everyone who took the podium on Wednesday. And it’s easy to see why.

Parker, the 1978 National League MVP, was also a seven-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, three-time Silver Slugger winner, two-time NL batting champion and a two-time World Series champion in his 19-year MLB career.

Additionally, Parker won the MVP Award in the 1979 Midsummer Classic, won the inaugural Home Run Derby in 1985, and was the first professional athlete to earn $1 million per year, paving the way for athletes of all races across all sports.

While Parker and Reds Country await his call from Cooperstown, there is so much to be celebrated in his name right here in Cincinnati, and that’s what the street naming was all about. Parker’s remarkable accomplishments on the field are well documented, but his impact away from the field is immeasurable.

After the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy opened in 2014, Parker worked for several years as both a coach and mentor for youth baseball and softball athletes. He conducted hitting clinics, provided one-on-one instruction and offered general advice for Academy members of all ages.

In addition, Parker has been battling Parkinson’s disease for over a decade and during that period has poured much of his time, energy and resources into the Dave Parker39 Foundation. The all-volunteer, non-profit organization has raised thousands of dollars over the years in the effort to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease and make life better for those living with the disease today.