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James Parker: Everett’s Southern Man

July 12, 2023

James Parker is a man who is proud of where he comes from. He comes to the plate at AquaSox home games blaring “Where I Come From” by Montgomery Gentry, a ballad dedicated to southern pride. While Parker is first and foremost a South Carolina boy, he has quickly become

James Parker is a man who is proud of where he comes from. He comes to the plate at AquaSox home games blaring “Where I Come From” by Montgomery Gentry, a ballad dedicated to southern pride.

While Parker is first and foremost a South Carolina boy, he has quickly become a fan favorite and hometown hero for Everett AquaSox fans because of his charm, charisma, and actions on the baseball field. A sport he has been playing since he was about four years old.

“When I was younger it was kind of my escape. I grew up playing for as long as I can remember. That was my way to get away from everything. We all thought school was so hard when we were in Elementary School, so when I would go to a baseball field it just kind of let me get away and that is where I met some of my best friends,” Parker said.

Parker’s love for baseball was instilled in him by his father. Tim Parker was selected in the third round of the 1990 MLB draft by the Chicago Cubs. The elder Parker played three seasons in Single-A and Double-A before having to retire due to injuries. James says his dad is his greatest baseball inspiration.

“I was lucky enough that he played and he kind of taught me the right way growing up,” Parker said. “It was not always easy, he was tough on me, but at the end of the day it was definitely for the better and he put a good head on my shoulders. I have come to appreciate that more and more.”

Anderson, South Carolina is a small town of about 28,000 people, at least a couple hours drive from a major city in any direction. Growing up in the deep south, football, especially college football, was always king in Parker’s neck of the woods, but travel baseball was taken very seriously as well.

Parker honed his skills against some of the best competition in the world, and when it came time to decide where he wanted to play college baseball, he decided to go to his hometown school and represent his hometown team.

“I grew up 20 minutes from Clemson and I can’t remember a time I didn’t go to a football game and tailgate with everybody,” Parker said. “My Mom and Dad actually met there, my sister went there, aunts, uncles, cousins went there. So, it’s everything. It’s kind of a small-town school and that just fits in with how I am as a person.”

Parker admits that moving across the country to Everett has been a bit of an adjustment. He said most people comment on his southern accent when they first meet him, which took some getting used to. He also mentioned the cold Aprils as something he had to adjust to as well.

But no matter where Parker goes on this baseball adventure he is tethered by his faith, which is something very important to him and dear to his heart.

“It’s everything, at the end of the day I play baseball but that’s what I do, not necessarily who I am,” Parker said. “At the end of the day I know however baseball ends up with me, that is God’s plan. So, it is comforting to know that I’ve always got him and my family. Ever since I left Clemson and came out here, I am on my own now, so it has meant a lot to me to know I have him (God) and have that comfort.

On the baseball field, Parker says his biggest adjustment this season is not something fundamental or physical, but emotional.

“The biggest thing is the mindset. We play too much to not have bad games, we just play so much, it is part of it. So, I think it’s just finding a way to kind of just flush it,” Parker said. “At the end of the day nobody’s swing here is that bad, we are all here for a reason, so I think it is just the approach to the game every day.”

James Parker is a long way from home. He has embarked on an adventure few are willing to take, chasing a dream both grand and unlikely. As he goes down this rocky path, Parker is tethered by a love for his hometown, God, and the game he plays every day. As this chapter of his life continues to develop, Parker is trying to just enjoy the here and now.

“It’s a game so it’s fun, so just finding a way to come out and enjoy it. That is probably my biggest thing this year and obviously I am going to come out here every day and keep on working on the physical baseball things, but I think really the biggest separator between us and the big leaguers is how they approach the game,” Parker said.

PHOTO CREDIT: Shari Sommerfeld

LOOKING AHEAD: The AquaSox will begin a nine game homestand and a three-game series against the Hillsboro Hops on Friday July 14. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and the radio pre-game show begins at 6:50 p.m. Tune in to 1380 AM/95.3 FM for all of the action.

ABOUT THE EVERETT AQUASOX: The Everett AquaSox are the High-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. Everett is a member of the Northwest League and has been a Mariners affiliate since establishing the AquaSox moniker in 1995. For updates on the 2023 season, community initiatives and Webbly appearances follow the Frogs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or visit our website, Mini-plans, and group and picnic outings can be purchased by calling (425) 258-3673 or visiting the AquaSox Front Office at 3802 Broadway in Everett.