Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dave Parks, Early Career Greatness

by TJ Troup

Credit: Philadelphia Cards
There have been many receivers who have attained greatness at some point in their career. Since it will be his birthday tomorrow on Christmas day; a chance for me to pay tribute to a receiver I saw play in person in the mid-sixties who was on his way to a Hall of Fame career:  Dave Parks. The criteria is as follows: only 7 men who pre-Super Bowl caught at least 160 passes, for at least 2,750 yards, and at least 20 touchdowns over the course of 36 games.

They are as follows;
1. The immortal Don Hutson from the beginning of the 1942 season through the first 5 games of 1945. He caught 208 for 3,486 yards, and 45 touchdowns.
Don Hutson, Colorization by John Turney
2. Tom Fears during the first three years of his career caught 212 passes, for 2,827 yards, and 20 touchdowns.
Tom Fears. Colorization by John Turney
3. Pete Pihos last three years of his career (led the league in catches all three) caught 185 passes for 2,785 yards, and 27 touchdowns.
Pete Pihos. Colorization by John Turney
4. Raymond Berry, beginning with the last two games of 1957 through the first 10 games of 1960 caught 203 passes for 3,190 yards, and 33 touchdowns.
Raymond Berry. Colorization by John Turney
5. Del Shofner from the second game of '61 through the 10th game of 1963 caught 163 passes, for 3,038 yards, and 30 touchdowns.
Del Shofner. Colorization by John Turney
6. Bobby Mitchell converted from running back for the 1962 campaign through the first 8 games of '64 caught 176 passes, for 3,433 yards, and 24 touchdowns.
Bobby Mitchell. Credit SIKids.com
7. Dave Parks from the last 9 games of his pro bowl rookie season in 1964 through the 1966 season caught 172 passes, for 2,880 yards, and 24 touchdowns.

Leg injuries and leaving the 49ers contributed to Parks lack of production for the remainder of his career. Watching him run his patterns, his all out effort, and athleticism in catching the ball, and finally his determined running ability after the catch were sure impressive to watch.

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