DJ: Reds Hall of Famers were among the best pranksters too

CINCINNATI -- It was the summer of 1984. Some of the players began chumming the water immediately after winning a businessman’s special on a Dave Parker walkoff home run.  

“He’s the strongest man in Major League Baseball”, someone blurted in the festive Riverfront Stadium clubhouse. “Parker?” I asked innocently while making my rounds collecting postgame comments. “Absolutely,” assured second baseman Ron Oester. “You got a thick belt on, DJ?”, he asked. I checked and said I did.

With that, Reds reliever John Franco announced a three-man lift. “A what?” I wondered. “Parker will lift you and two other guys high enough off the ground for Mark Stowe (the Reds clubhouse attendant) to roll a baseball under you.”

That set the hook like Santiago did in that marlin he fought for hours in Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea.”  How cool was this going to be?

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