Robert Allen Parnell was born September 8, 1984 in Salisbury, North Carolina. After high school, Parnell attended Charleston Southern University. The six foot four right hander was signed by the New York Mets in the 9th round of the 2005 draft.
In 2005 he was 2-3 with a 1.73 ERA at A ball with the Brooklyn Cyclones, getting named to the NY / Penn. Leagues All Star Game. Parnell went up the ranks making two more All Star teams in his minor league career, once for A ball St. Lucie in the Florida State League & then again in the Eastern League.
That year he was 10-6 at AA Binghamton with 91 strike outs. He got a September call up to the Mets in 2008 to help out a struggling bullpen.
Parnell debuted pitching one inning in relief at Washington on September 15th. He made six appearances that month allowing three runs in five innings of work.
In 2009 he made the Mets bull pen right out of Spring Training. In the second game of the season he was credited with a hold in the Mets 9-7 win at Cincinnati, and would get credot with four hold s in the month.
On May 8th at Citi Field he pitched a scoreless 8th inning against Pittsburgh earning his first career win. He had another solid month in May getting six more holds & posting a 2.11 ERA by the month's end.
In June he lost three games, including a four run debacle against the Tampa Rays in an interleague game at Citi Field, topped off by a B.J. Upton HR. By the end of August his ERA ballooned up to nearly six, and he was put into the starting rotation. That didn't work out, as he took four straight losing decisions into September. On the year he went 4-8 with a 5.30 ERA. He was credited with 16 holds, striking out 74 batters with 46 walks in 88 innings of work in 68 appearances.
He began the 2010 season at AAA Buffalo, going 1-1 with four saves in 24 appearances. He got called up to the big league squad at the end of June to replace the young pitcher Jenrry Mejia when he got injured.
Parnell pitched as a mid reliever / set up man through the summer of 2010 earning his first decision on August 6th, a blown opportunity which he lost at Philadelphia. His season was ended early when he went on the DL on September 21st. All in all he pitched well enough on the year to post a 2.83 ERA, get credit with nine holds & strike out 33 batters in 35 innings of work.
In 2011 he began the year on the DL again, with a blood clot in his finger. He returned in June after missing time when his grandmother passed away. He began in his same role as a set up man, to Francisco Rodriquez. In June he earned wins in Atlanta & at home against the Oakland A's.
On June 29th in a game against the Detroit Tigers, Parnell was clocked throwing six pitches over 100 mph in an at bat to Miquel Cabrera. When Rodriquez was traded away during to the Milwaukee Brewers in the summer and Parnell was given the Mets closer role temporarily.
On August 15th he blew a save in San Diego losing to the Padres in the 8th inning. In the final week of August he earned four saves during a home stand with the Phillies & Florida Marlins.
In a busy September he had four blown save or win opportunities, earned two saves & a hold. In 60 appearances he was 4-6 with six saves, a 3.64 ERA striking out 64 batters with 27 walks, in 59.1 innings pitched.
In 2012 the Mets acquired Frank Francisco as the teams closer and Parnell was lined up as a set up man. He got credit for three holds in April & by the end of May already had eleven. The Mets had a good start to the season but had the most trouble in their bullpen.
In June, Parnell blew a save at Washington & then one against the A.L. New York team in the subway series. Later that month he was given the closer's role when Frank Francisco went down with injury.
Parnell had a rough time at first, getting charged with five blown saves through July. On June 28th he earned his first save, it came in a 3-2 Mets win at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
On July 5th, he was credited with a win, when Daniel Murphy tied up a game a game against the Philadelphia Phillies & David Wright singled home the winning run with a hit off; Jonathan Paplebon.
On July 14th, in Atlanta, Parnell took a loss to the Braves in the midst of a terrible Mets losing streak where they dropped 12 of 13, ruining their strong first half of the season.
At the end of August, he earned a pair of victories in two late inning Mets come back wins.
He ended the year with three saves in the final seven games. His 2012 numbers were 5-4 with seven saves, in 74 appearances.
He was credited with 18 holds, 61 strike outs & 20 walks in 68 innings pitched.
In 2013 Parnell was named the teams closer, a role he was home grown into. He earned his first save on April 13th, in Minnesota during Matt Harvey's third win of the season.
During that game a fan brought a sign to the game that read "Bobby Parnell the Centerpiece". The team ran with it , using it as Parnell's nickname in the club house.
After two blown saves that month, he went on to have a strong May, earning seven saves while going 3-1 with a 1.85 ERA.
Parnell earned two saves in the Mets subway series sweep of the A.L. New York team as well.
He began June with a blown save in Washington, & a loss at Citi Field to the Miami Marlins.
But from mid June through the end of July, he was good enough to earn 13 saves while going 1-2 giving up just three earned runs in 21 innings over twenty games.
On August 5th, he went on the disabled list with a herniated disk. Parnell was done for the season, finishing the year with 22 saves, posting a record of 5-5 with a 2.16 ERA & 44 strike outs in 50 innings with 12 walks.
For 2014 he was named the Mets closer, on Opening Day he blew a save, allowing a game tying RBI double in the top of the 9th inning in an eventual loss to the Washington Nats. The next day it was reported he tore his collateral ligament & needed Tommy John surgery, shutting him down for the season.
As his rehab was coming along well, the Mets gave him a new one year deal in January.
At Spring Training 2015 Parnell made the news when he found rookie Noah Syndergaard eating his lunch in between an inter squad scrimmage. Parnell tossed the kids lunch into the garbage scolding him that a rookie does not eat in the club house while the others are working out. David Wright the team Captain had a quieter talking to, with the young pitcher.
Parnell returned 15 months later on June 13th,2015 pitching in relief in the 8th inning of a 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Three days later on June 16th, he recorded his first save in two years, it came while pitching 1.2 innings in a 3-2 win at Toronto.
On June 27th he earned a victory after Dilson Herrera scored on a Lucas Duda fielders choice in the bottom of the 13th inning.
His return was slowly coming along, but he suffered a sang on July 22nd when he gave up three runs on three hits with a pair of walks, surrendering a 3-1 Mets lead to the Washington Nats. The Mets took a loss & fell behind the Nats by three games in second place. Parnell gave up runs in three straight games, including two more in a two losses at San Diego.
On August 1st, he pitched a scoreless 7th inning, with the Mets down by a run at Citi Field against the Washington Nats. The Mets went on to a victory after Lucas Duda homered & then doubled in the winning run in the 8th. This put the Mets one game back out of first place, they would move into a tie the next day after sweeping the series. Parnell would finish two games the next week but then get beaten up badly in two games of a series sweep at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Mets clinched the NL East that September, with Parnell making seven appearances in the month. He earned a win on September 13th, pithing the 8th & 9th innings against the Atlanta Braves. On September 30th he blew a two run lead to the Phillies taking the loss. He ended 2015 at 2-4 with one save & a 6.38 ERA. He did not pitch in any post season games, marking the end of his Mets career.
That February he signed with the Detroit Tigers, he would get released & resigned by them appearing in six games. He signed with the Royals & White Sox over the next two years but did not play at the MLB level.
In his nine year career he was 20-28 with 37 saves, 297 strike outs & 138 walks in 336 innings over 335 appearances.
Charities: While growing up, Parnell's dad was a firefighter in North Carolina. Today he hosts NYFD families at Citi Field & also is also very active in the Police and Fire Widows and Children’s Fund.
He & his wife are also active in supporting the North Shore Animal League. The couple owned seven dogs at one point & have adopted two from the NSAL.