Gerardo Parra, then 32, signed with San Francisco in the winter of 2018-19, agreeing on a 1-year/$1.75M minor league deal with the Giants, but he was designated for assignment after putting up a .198/.278/.267 line with three doubles and a home run in just 30 games and 97 plate appearances, and granted free agency on May 7, 2019.
Two days later, Parra joined Washington’s Nationals, and the rest, as they say, is history. The go-ahead grand slam against the LA Dodgers in his second game with his new club, and his Baby Shark walk-up song becoming a phenomenon in the nation’s capital, the dugout home run celebrations/dancing, the World Series win, and the epic tattoo to commemorate it.
Oh, and the cool sunglasses.
Gerardo Parra has been a positive influence on the Washington Nationals as a player, teammate and person.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 16, 2022
His legacy will aways be a part of our story.
Thank you, World Series Champion Gerardo Parra.@88_gparra // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/vmPuwN5Ymv
Parra made a home for himself, in D.C. and made fans for life, in the stands, and apparently in the Nationals’ front office, because earlier this month, there were reports he would hang them up and move into a new phase of his career, and on Monday he made it official, with a retirement announcement accompanied by the official word that he’s becoming a member of GM Mike Rizzo’s front office, as a Special Assistant to the GM.
“After giving my everything for 16 years as a baseball player in the United States and Japan, it’s time for me to step aside to take on new personal and professional challenges, which is why I decided to retire from Major League Baseball.
“It’s not an easy decision to make for any athlete, but I am happy with what I have achieved in these 12 years in the Major Leagues, and even a great experience in Nippon Professional Baseball, and that would not have been possible without the unconditional support of my parents Gustavo and Mileida...”
It goes on for a while, you can read it all by clicking through Parra’s Instagram post above, but at the end he does officially confirm the fact he is joining Rizzo’s front office, which is not too surprising considering how the GM in D.C. has talked about Parra throughout their time together in Washington.
“The guy is an above-average defensive outfielder, he’s got a cannon for a throwing arm,” Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies two months into Parra’s time with the Nats in 2019.
“He’s a good, intelligent baserunner, and can hit off the bench,” Rizzo added.
“We knew that going in ... when we acquired him. I have a personal history with him.
“I signed him as a 16-year-old, so I’ve known him since he’s 15 years old, so I knew what the kid was all about.
“I knew the energy he brought to the Diamondbacks when we had him there and eventually to the Rockies and then with us.
“He’s got an infectious personality. He’s got a motor that never stops. He’s got a great energy and people just want to be around him. It was really good for the clubhouse, but again, he brings a lot of things to the table. His makeup is certainly a big part of it, but he’s still a good little player that can do a lot of stuff for us. As a bench player and as a leader, he’s taken up both of those roles and excelled at both of them.”
“I love the guy,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said before last night’s game in Miami, where Parra joined the team for the first time as a former player.
“There is no surprise about that,” Martinez said of his love for Parra, “... but I think he’s going to help our young players right now in the minor leagues. He’s going to go around and talk to those guys and work with them, but he is a great addition to this organization.”