Ace Parker dead at 101; was pro football's oldest Hall of Famer
Clarence "Ace" Parker, the oldest member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has died. He was 101.
Parker died Wednesday, according to Bryan Johnson of B.W. Foster Funeral Home in Portsmouth, Va.
A Portsmouth native, Parker played football, basketball and baseball at Duke, then was a first-round draft choice of the National Football League's Brooklyn Dodgers in 1937. Instead of pursuing a career on the gridiron, Parker opted to play baseball for Connie Mack and the Philadelphia Athletics. In his first at-bat, the shortstop hit a home run at Fenway Park, becoming the third player in major-league history to homer in his first at-bat.
He later traded baseball for football, starring for the Dodgers from 1937-41, and winning the most valuable player award in 1940. That season, the 5-foot-10, 178-pounder threw 10 touchdown passes, ran for 306 yards and two touchdowns, caught two touchdown passes, kicked 19 extra points and shared the league lead with six interceptions on defense. He also punted for the Dodgers, averaging 38 yards per kick.
After the 1941 season, Parker left football to serve in World War II. He returned after the war with the Boston Yanks in 1945 and finished his football career the following season in the rival American Football Conference playing quarterback for the New York Yankees. Again, he traded shoes and went back to his first love, baseball.
He played and managed in the minor leagues for the Portsmouth Cubs and the Durham Bulls from 1946 to 1952, and then coached football and baseball at Duke from 1947 until 1965. He also worked as an NFL scout for the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers until his retirement in June 1987. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972.
■ The St. Louis Rams have postponed quarterback Sam Bradford's knee surgery, which had been scheduled for Tuesday, because of swelling. Coach Jeff Fisher said Wednesday no new date has been set for the procedure to repair a torn left ACL, but he anticipated it would be soon. The team previously announced the surgery would be done by Dr. James Andrews, who also operated on the quarterback's shoulder at Oklahoma.
■ The Buffalo Bills' monthlong shuffle at quarterback is coming to an end after rookie starter EJ Manuel returned to practice Wednesday. The expectation is that Manuel will be ready to step in immediately and start against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Gators suffer another injury to starter
Florida offensive tackle Tyler Moore, who started six games, will miss the rest of the season following a scooter accident.
Coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday that Moore, a third-year sophomore who transferred from Nebraska, crashed while driving home from practice Tuesday night and had surgery to repair a compound fracture in his right elbow.
Moore is the ninth Florida player — including five starters — lost for the season. The list includes quarterback Jeff Driskel, defensive tackle Dominique Easley, running back Matt Jones, right tackle Chaz Green and kick returner Andre Debose. The Gators also are without starting left tackle D.J. Humphries, who will miss his second straight game with a sprained knee.
■ The NCAA put Chadron State on three years of probation and vacated 15 wins over two seasons Wednesday after determining its former football coach Bill O'Boyle had secret bank accounts and extra benefits for players.
The NCAA's report ended a two-year ordeal for the western Nebraska school that produced one of Division II's all-time greats in San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead.
Chadron State's probation runs until November 2016, its six wins in 2011 and nine wins in 2012 have been forfeited, and the school has been fined $5,000. The Eagles did not lose any scholarships and will not be banned from the playoffs.
Wall has career night in Wizards' first win
John Wall hit a career-high five three-pointers, Marcin Gortat went for 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Washington finally got its first win of the season as it beat host Philadelphia 116-102.
Wall finished with 25 points on the night. The former University of Kentucky point guard also had nine assists. Ex-Cat Daniel Orton had five points and three rebounds for the 76ers.
■ The Charlotte Bobcats improved to 3-2 on the season after defeating the Toronto Raptors (2-3) at home Wednesday night. Gerald Henderson led all scorers with 23 points for the Bobcats. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was Charlotte's second-leading scorer, going for 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting.
■ Anthony Davis had 18 points, nine rebounds, three steals and three blocks in the New Orleans Pelicans' 99-84 win at Memphis. Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph played eight minutes in the first quarter before exiting the game to be with his fianceé as she went into labor at a local hospital.
■ Nikola Vucevic posted 31 points and 21 rebounds in the Orlando Magic's 98-90 win over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.
■ Newly minted Celtics coach Brad Stevens got his first win on the professional sidelines as Boston defeated Utah 97-87 at home. Enes Kanter had 22 points and eight rebounds for the Jazz in the loss.
■ Knicks center Tyson Chandler is expected to miss 4-6 weeks because of a broken bone in his right leg. The team said Wednesday that tests showed no ligament or nerve damage and surgery is not required. Chandler left in the first quarter of a 102-97 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday. He suffered a small fracture in the fibula in his lower leg.
$10 million to be offered twice next year
The PGA Championship and The Players Championship will share the distinction of having golf's richest tournament next year by offering $10 million in prize money.
In a new spirit of cooperation, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and PGA of America President Ted Bishop announced the purse increases Wednesday. That marks a 25 percent increase for the PGA Championship, making its purse the largest of the four majors. It was $8 million this year. The Players Championship for years had the largest purse — $9.5 million this year.
The announcement was part of a new collaboration between two groups that once were part of the same organization. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were largely responsible in 1968 for tournament players breaking away from the PGA of America because they felt it was more concerned with the club pro business.
Wildcats fall in SEC Tournament opener
The University of Kentucky women fell 2-0 to Mississippi in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals at Orange Beach, Ala., Wednesday night. Mandy McCall and Rafaelle Sou both netted goals for the fourth-seeded Rebels, who will face top-seeded Florida on Friday.
■ The Transylvania women's team upset host Manchester, 2-0, in their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament semifinal match on Wednesday, sending the team to its second straight HCAC Championship game. Hanover (16-1-2), the HCAC regular-season champion, defeated Rose-Hulman for its single-season record 16th win Wednesday, and will host Transylvania on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The last word
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston's squinting has everyone staring at the redshirt freshman. He wears contacts off the field but said Wednesday that it's uncomfortable to wear them when playing. Coach Jimbo Fisher doesn't seem too concerned:
"It's never a factor. It's never been a problem, just because he squints. ... Think of the way he would play if he could see."