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Hall of Famer Clarence “Ace” Parker dies at 101

aceparker Getty Images

Clarence “Ace” Parker, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who was the oldest living former NFL player, has died at the age of 101.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced that Parker died this morning.

After an All-American career as a single-wing tailback at Duke, Parker was drafted by the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers in 1937. He played with the Dodgers for five seasons, and calling him a two-way player doesn’t quite do justice to everything he could do on the football field: Parker played offense, defense and special teams, and in 1938 he was reported to have played 656 minutes of the 660 minutes of that 11-game season.

Parker was a good enough passer that he led the league in passing yards in 1938, he was a good enough defensive back that he led the league in interceptions in 1940, and he was a good enough kicker that he led the league in extra points in 1940. He was also a punter and both a kickoff and punt returner. In 1940 he was voted the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

After the 1941 season Parker left the NFL to serve in the Navy in World War II. He returned to pro football in 1945 with the Boston Yanks, and he played one last season of professional football in 1946 with the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference.

A great all-around athlete, Parker also played basketball at Duke and played two seasons of Major League Baseball with the Philadelphia Athletics. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972.

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33 Responses to “Hall of Famer Clarence “Ace” Parker dies at 101”
  1. ccjcsr says: Nov 6, 2013 10:23 AM

    Lived a long fulfilling life!

  2. ctattles says: Nov 6, 2013 10:28 AM

    This guy was a beast. Sounds like he was a combination of: Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Ed Reed, Calvin Johnson, Patrick Willis, Sebastian Janikowski, Devin Hester and Orlando Pace.

  3. joetoronto says: Nov 6, 2013 10:28 AM

    Salute!

  4. wydok says: Nov 6, 2013 10:29 AM

    You, good sir, were a badass.

  5. FinFan68 says: Nov 6, 2013 10:30 AM

    101. Kinda cuts against the grain for all those lawsuits. This guy played offense, defense and special teams in an era with minimal pads and legal clothes-lines, head slaps, etc.

    RIP to one of the game’s true greats.

  6. bleedburgandyandgold says: Nov 6, 2013 10:30 AM

    They don’t make em like that anymore. RIP

  7. questionableprovenance says: Nov 6, 2013 10:33 AM

    and no steroids, HGH, or deer antler spray

  8. bordner says: Nov 6, 2013 10:34 AM

    Wow. Lived to be 101 years old. Played in the NFL, MLB. NFL MVP. Served in WWII. Inducted into to 2 different Halls of Fame.

    I’m not sure if they wore them back then, but I’ll bet half of today’s players couldn’t even carry this man’s jock.

  9. ravenmomma says: Nov 6, 2013 10:37 AM

    I bet this guy could throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time ;)

  10. honkeyt says: Nov 6, 2013 10:38 AM

    Respect to the Dukie!

  11. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Nov 6, 2013 10:40 AM

    Dang, saying the man was quite impressive doesn’t do it justice!

    No one could hold a candle to this guy nowadays.

    Rest in Peace Sir…

  12. ttommytom says: Nov 6, 2013 10:41 AM

    Joining the Navy at age 31 to go off to war for 4 years is more impressive than anything.

    RIP

  13. wtfchiefs says: Nov 6, 2013 10:52 AM

    Play two sports in college,
    Play baseball and football professionally,
    Play on both sides in the NFL,
    Pause athletic career to fight in WWII,
    Become a 2nd Lieutenant in the Navy,
    Return home alive.
    Continue playing both sides in the NFL,
    Coach both Baseball and Football at Duke from 1953-’65,
    Make NFL and College HOF,
    Live to see 101 years.

    That is one heck of a life!

  14. keylimelight says: Nov 6, 2013 10:54 AM

    Wow, what a life. 101 years of it no less.

    Rest in peace, Ace.

  15. godofwine330 says: Nov 6, 2013 11:00 AM

    Wow! And I thought Slingin’ Sammy Baugh was an all around athlete. He may be the last person to lead the NFL in both passing and interceptions (caught, not thrown), but this dude did it all. And he was Bo before Bo was Bo. A long life. May he rest peacefully.

  16. richardmswartz says: Nov 6, 2013 11:00 AM

    We should all live such a life.

  17. harrisonhits2 says: Nov 6, 2013 11:02 AM

    And that’s why people from that time are referred to as the Great Generation.

    RIP Mr Parker, you worked very very hard for everything you had and deserved your success.

  18. mogogo1 says: Nov 6, 2013 11:04 AM

    What an amazing athlete. And, like lots of other old-timers, a great nickname.

  19. camp1746 says: Nov 6, 2013 11:07 AM

    I’m sorry but I think if you make it past the age of 90 it should no longer be called dying. It should be called “winning the game”.

  20. whodatnhollywood says: Nov 6, 2013 11:10 AM

    Wow! The REAL end of an era for those kinds of players. What an awesome talent! And as a former US Navy sailor myself, I salute you Mr. Parker. You were a REAL veteran~on and off the playing surfaces. Rest well in eternity. Great job!

  21. olcap says: Nov 6, 2013 11:20 AM

    Most likely he shook his head a LOT at how the NFL is today.

    RIP to a true great.

  22. doctorrustbelt says: Nov 6, 2013 11:22 AM

    You know you are tough if your nickname is Ace, Bubby, or Stew.

  23. ravanator says: Nov 6, 2013 11:23 AM

    Go Ravens!!!

    #ravensrepeat

  24. thebigtexas says: Nov 6, 2013 11:28 AM

    I’m pretty sure the Dos Equis guy is based off of this guy.

  25. napavalleyshaun says: Nov 6, 2013 11:53 AM

    Dude was born the year the Titanic sank. Prolly would have survived that too.

  26. dodohead418 says: Nov 6, 2013 12:06 PM

    Wow, what a good set of genes he was given!

  27. thegreatgabbert says: Nov 6, 2013 12:12 PM

    Ace often credited his longevity to the state of the art helmet he wore as a player.

  28. artvan15 says: Nov 6, 2013 12:21 PM

    “I didn’t even know football existed that long ago”

    You probably didn’t realize football was being played 10 years ago.

  29. jayniner says: Nov 6, 2013 12:33 PM

    Truly a model human being that we could certainly use more of today.

    RIP sir

  30. cospgsmadman says: Nov 6, 2013 1:06 PM

    A true american hero and role model

    R.I.P.

  31. steelersaregodsteam says: Nov 6, 2013 1:29 PM

    Steelers always outlive other teams.

    #superhuman
    #specialbreed

  32. chinahand11 says: Nov 6, 2013 2:57 PM

    This gentleman was obviously the prototype and roll model for football badasses, not to mention his service to the country. They sure as hell don’t make them like that any more. Thank you Mr. Parker SIR.

  33. danolson68 says: Nov 6, 2013 3:15 PM

    Total badass. RIP!

    It’s a shame the older NFL players aren’t in our consciousness like our MLB heroes.

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