Lifelong Dodgers fan throws first pitch
Family helps set up event for LA man on his 87th birthday
LOS ANGELES -- Through all the seasons that 87-year-old Dodgers fan Frank Parker has spent watching his team, he probably never dreamed of experiencing a moment like this.
But there he was in the middle of the diamond Monday night to throw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium.
The pitch was set up by his family to celebrate his 87th birthday. Accompanying Parker on the mound was his son, John, while his wife, Marty, and the rest of his family watched from the first-base line.
"I never expected this," Parker, a Los Angeles resident, said before he tossed a one-hopper to the plate. "I followed the Dodgers since back in the '30s. So I go a long ways with them."
Parker wore a commemorative No. 87 Dodgers jersey to celebrate the occasion.
"He grew up as a boy in Kansas and on Saturdays they listened to games on the Saturday radio broadcast," his son, John, said. "Farmers would let him listen, and for some reason, he became a Dodger fan."
Parker, a World War II Navy veteran, said that his favorite Dodger is Vin Scully and that his favorite Dodgers moment was Kirk Gibson's famous walk-off homer in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
He also said that one of the worst things to happen was when Roy Campanella was paralyzed in an automobile accident in 1958.
Parker has seen his fair share of historic moments in Dodgers history. He and Marty attended the very first Dodgers game in Los Angeles in 1958, and Parker and John went to the only All-Star Game played at Dodger Stadium in 1980.
Helping set up his first pitch in addition to his family was John's friend Danny Telford, who works as the Dodger Stadium electrician.
"He loves to hear the Dodger information that I send him on the news releases," Telford said. "Watches all the games, gets upset when the Dodgers lose."
David Ely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.