Salty Parker: The Third Manager In New York Mets History (1967)

Francis James “Salty” Parker was born July 8, 1912, in East St. Louis, located on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River.

Earning the Salty Monicker: As a boy he worked at a grocery store where the owner gave him the nickname of salty for his love of salted peanuts.

His family moved to Granite City Illinois, where he became a star athlete. Salty was an All-Conference at basketball & as the high school team's quarterback. Parker was also on the track team.

In 1933 he was sold to the Detroit Tigers & began his career with the Toledo Mud Hens.

MLB Playing Career: 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 %.

Minor League Career: Parker spent 23 years in the minor leagues, playing a dozen years in the Texas League & seven years at AA Shreveport. Parker played 2108 minor league games, batting .278 with 2031 hits 36 HRs 406 doubles & 128 RBIs.

Managing Career: During his playing days he was a player/manager. He soon 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 Shreveport team to a Championship. He returned in 1942 until getting drafted.

Military Service: In 1943 Parker served in the military in the US Army during World War II. He served until November when he was discharged with a leg injury. 

He returned to AA Montreal the next year as a player & made the All-Star team. In 1946 he became a player manager at Shreveport until 1951. He bounced around as a minor league manager for six more seasons.

San Francisco Giants Coach: In 1958 he became a coach at the big-league level with the Giants in their first year on the West Coast. 

He remained with the Giants thru 1961 when he resigned to join the Cleveland Indians staff. He spent 1962 with the Indians then the next year with the Pirates minor league team.



Angels Coach: In 1964 he joined his friend Bill Rigney, who he worked for as a coach in San Francisco. He became the L.A. Angels third base coach for two seasons.

Mets Career: In 1967 he was called over to the New York Mets & coached under then manager Wes Westrum. The two had known each other from their Giants days. Paker was the Mets third base coach for most of the 1967 season.

Meanwhile We 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 season, Westrum resigned with just 21 games to go. 

Mets Manager: 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. 

Post Mets Career: Parker remained in the Astros organization into the early seventies as a coach.

Trivia: 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. Durocher ended up firing Parker soon after. 

In 1973 he returned as a coach under Bobby Winkles back with the California Angels. Dick Williams took over as manager in June1974 & Parker finished out the year but was not asked to return the next season.

Parker then moved on back with the Giants in their minor leagues from 1976-1985. He then worked two years in the Seattle Mariners organization.

Hobbies: Salty was also very involved in coaching youth baseball in the Houston area becoming a local favorite. Personally, Parker had an interest in artwork. 

Family: Salty married his grade school sweetheart Thelma (Millard) in 1936. They had three daughters & remained together until her death in 1991.

Passing: In 1992, Parker passed away 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 Dill Hoefer.

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