Book Reviews

Cobra: A Life of Baseball and Brotherhood

Book review at Knup Sports

This book by Dave Parker and Dave Jordan is a delightful book and an incredibly detailed book. The title gives you a hint of one thing throughout the career of Dave Parker and that is “brotherhood” was an important element of his success in baseball.

The book starts with a glimpse into the life of his dad and the love and respect he has for him. He plays homage to his mother and honors her with his actions. Then he gets into his love of sports and “his boys” and this theme is continuous in the book. At every level it seems Dave Parker not only needs but seeks out friend to hang out with all of the time.

He loved his high school time and being the king of the hallways since he was the best athlete in his school. He had a girlfriend and buddies to be with him at all time. His counselor was always looking after him but his English teacher had no interest in sports and he struggled there.

Dave Parker’s first love of sports was football and Ohio State. He was a stud running back and was cock sure he would be signed by the Buckeyes. He likely was on that track until he got a knee injury in a game and his personal life changed when he got his girl pregnant and the world needed to change. Now he worried how to take care of his responsibilities.

Parker tried to play basketball his season year but just couldn’t get up and down the floor good enough to play the game at the level he was familiar with. His coach told him it was time to quit playing. He then worked hard on his rehabilitation as sports was everything to him. He got strong enough to play some baseball showcases which got the attention of scouts. His first love was his hometown Cincinnati and they didn’t show the interest that the Pittsburgh Pirates did so he signed to play pro ball for them.

The minor leagues stories are priceless a he goes into detail on things we as fans always wonder about. Stories of him and “his boys” going out at  night and capturing the night life and the attention of the ladies.

Stories of politics in the minors and spring training and how it is decided who stays and who goes down which isn’t always because of performance. He allows us to hear talk in the dugout and dressing room on players, managers and general managers.

Dave Parker did this for every year he was in the minors. Story after story. Game after game. Good stuff for the baseball fan. He is especially poignant on the death of star Roberto Clemente and how everyone reacted to the news.

Parker tells of major league victories and losses on and off the field. Brothers that came into the game an left and his love for the work ethic of Cincinnati’s Pete Rose.  Parker’s center of activity is around his relationship between he and Dock Ellis. He visits the 1985 drug trails and constantly draws on his friendship with players that have been with him on many adventures.

Dave Parker always wanted to make a million dollars and this was his quest for that goal. The name “Cobra”was hung on him by a Pirates beat reporter and it stuck.

Each chapter begins with a quote from someone in baseball that dealt with Dave Parker and his time in baseball.It is no surprise when I recollect back on the 1979 Pirates and their Sister Sledge song as their theme called “We Are Family”. Here is the video for his 1979 World Series performance.

Pirate fans would absolutely love this book. Baseball fans will find it enjoyable and worthwhile and sports enthusiasts need this on their bookshelf for great reading entertainment.

One of the best complete book I have read in quite some time. Get it soon!

Thanks to the University of Nebraska Press for this book in exchange for an honest book review.




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