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  • Writer's pictureMaine Baseball HOF

Small, Parker (1996)

Small, Parker (96)

He's the oldest living Vinal Trophy winner (third to earn that symbol of Western Maine Class A schoolboy basketball’s finest as the state’s high scorer for South Portland High.)

As the state's top collegiate tallier with the University of Maine Black Bears cagers, he outscored Rhode Island’s U.S. point pacer and All American, Stan Modzelewski, 23-11 head-to-head among his All-New England feats.

As a two-way Maine football back, he received a tryout offer from the Philadelphia Eagles.

for all of his salient exploits on the hardwood and gridiron, however, Parker small also logged a bright pitching record well worthy of entry in the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame.

Such as: A school-college-semipro career from one end of the state to the other -- and stretching into New Hampshire -- as the compact right-hander won 70 percent of his games.

since versatility is the word for Parker, it’s probably not surprising that nis hurling feats were registered after conversion from infield duty for his senior fling at S.P. High under Coach Bill Macomber.

Possessed with the requisite of pitches, Small showed consistently excellent control -- his strikeouts far outnumbered the bases on balls he issued.

for instance, as the third busiest pitcher in the Telegram League’s 1938 season, Parker posted 53 K’s against only 21 walks in 56 2/3 innings.

highlight of the interscholastic phase of the Small diamond saga was the feat of fanning 12 straight batters.

Beyond his exemplary mechanics, of course, was the competitive fervor that rubbed off on his mates both afield and at bat.

This literal man-for-all-seasons, bravado intertwined with aplomb, spread confidence all around.

He relished the challenge posed by the foe’s strongest hitters as he more than held his own against such elite.

Undoubtedly the gem of Parker’s extensive semi-pro career in the National Pastime was his brilliant stint with the classy Cape A.A. forces, area League champions and a prime factor in state play just prior to U.S. entry in WWIII.

Small set a strikeout record and was unbeaten in league play.

That premier cast, based in Cape Elizabeth but venturing far afield, was made up mostly of former interscholastic and college standouts, including eventual Maine Baseball Hall of Famers Edward (Doc) Hill and pitcher-manager Glen Jordan, both Cape natives.

The war interrupted Parker’s sports career but not his taste for combat. He volunteered into the Combat Marines after resigning his Naval Officer's commission, and as a machine gunner, went in with the first wave on Iwo Jima, was wounded on the 16th day but returned to action with a well-earned Purple Heart.

After the war, a far-flung high school coaching career -- Norway, Ellsworth, Gorham, Kennett (Conway, N.H.) and two Long Island, N.Y.

schools -- led to more semi-pro basketball and baseball action.

Parker posted several low-hit games and six shutouts for the Norway Legionnaires and as a postscript to his playing brilliance, several vocal and written statements from his players testify to Small’s inspirational impact as a coach.

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