Francis James “Salty” Parker was born July 8, 1912 in East St. Louis, located on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River.
Parker only played eleven games in the big leagues, seven of them at shortstop with the Detroit Tigers in 1936. He batted .280 with seven hits, two doubles & four RBIs posting a .333 on base %.
Parker spent 23 years in the minor leagues, playing a dozen years in the Texas League & playing seven years at AA Shreveport. He played 2108 minor league games, batting .278 with 2031 hits 36 HRs 406 doubles & 128 RBIs.
He spent 1944 in the military serving in World War II. He returned to AA Montreal the next year. After his playing days he had a successful minor league managing career, taking Lubbock to the Championship in 1939. In 1941 he was back at the Texas League taking his Shrevport team to a Championship. He then coached for the Giants their first few years in San Francisco.
In 1967 he was called over to the New York Mets and coached under then manager Wes Westrum. The two had known each other from their Giants days. Westrum had enough by the end of the 1967 season, when he heard rumors that Gil Hodges was going to replace him as Mets manager the next year. Westrum resigned with just 21 game to go.
Salty Parker was named the third Manager in Mets history, on September 21st, 1967 inheriting a record of 57-95.
It was understood he was just an interim manager as he took over in a double header at Shea Stadium. He was greeted with an 8-0 Houston Astros shutout in the first game, but his Mets won the night cap game 8-5. They won the next day as well before the Mets went on a five game losing streak. He closed out the year winning two of three games from the Dodgers in Los Angeles. His legacy as Met manager ended with a 14-7 record (.367%).
The next year Gil Hodges was brought in as the Mets manager and Parker was off to coach in Houston with the Astros.
He remained in their organization into the early seventies as a coach.
In one famous incident as an Astros third base coach, he sent a runner from third base to home thinking the ball had gotten by Braves catcher Bob Dider. It turned out it wasn’t a ball but a small cast Dider had on his finger. The runner was out by a mile.
In 1972 he managed one game for the Astros when manager Harry Walker was fired & Leo Durocher was on his way to take the job over.
Retirement: Parker went on to become a scout with Houston & the California Angels for many years after leaving the field’s coaching box.
He was also very involved in coaching youth baseball in the Houston area becoming a local favorite. Personally, Parker had an interest in art work. He passed away in 1992 at Houston, Texas at the age of 80.
Trivia: Baseball reference lists a funny cast of “the all time condiments team” where Salty Parker stars along Pepper Martin, Mayo Smith, Chili Davis, & Pickles Dillhoefer.