Jim Parker (American football)

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Jim Parker
No. 77
Position:Offensive tackle,
Personal information
Born:(1934-04-03)April 3, 1934
Macon, Georgia, U.S.
Died:July 18, 2005(2005-07-18) (aged 71)
Columbia, Maryland, U.S.
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:273 lb (124 kg)
Career information
High school:Scott (Toledo, Ohio)
College:Ohio State (1954–1956)
NFL draft:1957 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:135
Player stats at NFL.com

James Thomas Parker (April 3, 1934 – July 18, 2005) was an American professional football player who an offensive tackle and guard for the Baltimore Colts of the National Football League (NFL). He played from 1957 to 1967, and was a member of Baltimore's NFL championship teams in 1958 and 1959. He was selected as a first-team All-Pro in nine of his 11 seasons in the NFL. Parker was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973.

Parker grew up in Macon, Georgia, and played college football for the Ohio State Buckeyes under coach Woody Hayes from 1954 to 1956. He helped the Buckeyes win a national championship in 1954. As a senior in 1956, he was a unanimous All-American and won the Outland Trophy. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1974.

Early years[edit]

Parker was born in 1934 in Macon, Georgia.[1] He grew up on a farm where he picked peaches and cotton as a boy.[2] He began playing football at age 13.[2] He played his first three years of high school football at Hudson and Ballard-Hudson High Schools in Macon. He moved to Ohio before his senior year and played for Scott High School in Toledo.[3] He graduated high school in 1953. He received first string honors by the "Times" at tackle for the 1952 season. Ref 1953 Scottonian.

College football[edit]

Parker played college football as a guard for the Ohio State Buckeyes from 1954 to 1956, playing on both the offense and defense. Parker was known for his size, strength and quickness, and these talents, used for clearing a path for running backs.

As a sophomore, Parker helped lead the 1954 Ohio State Buckeyes football team to a perfect 10–0 record and the No. 1 ranking in the final AP Poll.

As a junior, Parker was a key blocker for 1955 Heisman Trophy winner Howard Cassady. At the end of the season, Parker was named as a first-team All-American at guard by the Football Writers Association of America,[4] the Central Press Association,[5] and Jet magazine.[6] He was also selected by both the Associated Press (AP) and United Press (UP) as a first-team guard on the 1955 All-Big Ten Conference football team.[7][8]

As a senior in 1956, Parker was listed at six feet, two inches tall, weighed 262 pounds,[9] and helped lead the Buckeyes to a 6–3 record. At the end of the season, he received multiple honors, including:

NFL career[edit]

Parker was selected by the Baltimore Colts in the first round of the 1957 NFL draft as the eighth player selected overall. The Colts, with quarterback Johnny Unitas, relied on a passing offense very different from the running offense of Ohio State. Nevertheless, Parker soon came to be known as the premier pass blocker in the game.

From 1957 until 1962, Parker played as an offensive tackle. He was selected to five Pro Bowl teams in those six years. In 1963 Parker moved to the offensive guard position, as a favor to his college coach Woody Hayes, to make room for another former Buckeye, Bob Vogel. Parker was selected to three more Pro Bowls from the guard position.

Parker has been called "the best pure pass-blocker who ever lived. Knew all the tricks — the quick push-off, the short jab — that are legal now."[13]

Parker injured his knee during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 24, 1967.[14] The injury ended Parker's streak of 139 consecutive games played for the Colts.[2] He appeared in only three games in 1967 and announced his retirement in December 1967, explaining that he had been in pain since the injury and the knee had not improved.[14] He noted at the time: "I feel I can't do it. I can't slide to my right and I can't run."[15]

Legacy and honors[edit]

Parker received numerous honors for his contributions to the sport. His honors include the following:

Family and later years[edit]

From 1964 to 1999, Parker operated a liquor store in Baltimore's Liberty-Garrison neighborhood.[2] In 1999, he suffered a stroke and closed the store.[27][28]

Parker had 14 children and 23 grandchildren.[29] He died in July 2005 at the Lorien Nursing Home in Columbia, Maryland, at age 71. The cause of death was congestive heart failure and chronic kidney disease.[30][2] He was buried at King Memorial Park, Windsor Mill Manor, Baltimore County, Maryland.


  1. ^ "Jim Parker". Pro Football Archives. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e Mike Klingaman (July 19, 2005). "Jim Parker 1934-2005: Colts' great 'blocked out the sun' and rushers, too". The Baltimore Sun. pp. 1C, 7C – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ Smith, Don (1980). "The Coffin Corner: Jim Parker" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-18. Retrieved Dec 29, 2010.
  4. ^ "FWAA All America" (PDF). Football Writers Association of America. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2009.
  5. ^ Walter Johns (1955-11-26). "Central Press Captains All-American: Cassady Repeats On All-America". Mansfield News Journal.
  6. ^ "Jet's All-American College Grid Team". Jet.
  7. ^ "Five Boilermaker Gridders Gain Recognition on AP's All-Big Ten". Journal and Courier. November 22, 1955 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Krupa Named All-Big Ten: Dawson, Lundey, Murley, Murakowski Cited by UP". Journal and Courier. November 23, 1955. p. 9 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "UP All-America". Mansfield News-Journal. November 29, 1956. p. 35 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Football Award Winners" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2016. p. 9. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  11. ^ "Parker Gets Outland Trophy". Sidney News. December 7, 1956. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "1956 Heisman Trophy Voting". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  13. ^ Paul Lionel Zimmerman (1984). The New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football. Simon & Schuster. p. 53. ISBN 0-671-45394-7.
  14. ^ a b Larry Harris (December 7, 1967). "Colts' Jim Parker Retires From Football: Eight-Time All-Pro Tackle Quits Club In Surprise Move". The Evening Sun. p. C13 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Cameron C. Snyder (December 8, 1967). "Jim Parker Announces Retirement: Knee Injured In Game With Eagles Slows Great Lineman". The Baltimore Sun. pp. C1, C6 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ Cameron C. Snyder (December 11, 1967). "Parker 'Has Ball' As Fan, Then Receives Game Ball". The Baltimore Sun. pp. C1, C7 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ "Jim Parker Tribute Sunday". The Baltimore Sun. September 12, 1968. p. D18 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "Graham, Huff on All-1950s Pro Football Selections". Racine Sunday Bulletin. August 31, 1969. p. 6C – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  19. ^ Tom Siler (September 28, 1969). "Suffridge, Parker Used Contrasting Approaches". The News and Observer. p. II-8 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ "Berry, Parker In Pro Hall of Fame". The Baltimore Sun. February 6, 1973. p. C5 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ "Jim Parker". National Football Foundation. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  22. ^ "Class of 1974". Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  23. ^ "Very Best of the NFL". Detroit Free Press. August 24, 1994. p. 1D – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  24. ^ "untitled". Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY). August 15, 1999. p. 3D – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  25. ^ Ivan Maisel (August 16, 1999). "Team of the Century". Sports Illustrated.
  26. ^ "Prolific Georgians". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. August 26, 2007. p. 10F – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ Laurie Willis (November 23, 1999). "Tackling his retirement". The Baltimore Sun. pp. 1B, 4B – via Newspapers.com.
  28. ^ Laurie Willis (November 9, 1999). "Former Baltimore Colts player closes his store after 35 years: After suffering a stroke, Jim Parker decides to retire". The Baltimore Sun. p. 3B – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ "Friends say goodbye to Jim Parker". The Baltimore Sun. July 24, 2005. pp. 1A, 2B – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ Litsky, Frank (2005). "Jim Parker Is Dead at 71; Kept Johnny Unitas Protected". The New York Times. Retrieved Dec 27, 2021.

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