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OF Gerardo Parra, and ‘Baby Shark’ folk hero, retires

Sportsnaut
Aug 6, 2021; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Gerardo Parra (88) fist bumps with shortstop Alcides Escobar (3) after scoring a run against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran outfielder Gerardo Parra, who became a fan favorite with the Washington Nationals on their 2019 World Series run, announced Monday that he has retired after 12 major league seasons and will join Washington’s front office.

“After giving my everything for 16 years as a baseball player in the United States and Japan, it’s time to step aside and take on new professional and personal challenges, which is why I decided to retire from Major League Baseball,” Parra wrote on Instagram. “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 the Nippon Professional Baseball.”

Parra will begin working as a special assistant to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, which Parra called “undoubtedly a dream job to start a new chapter.”

Parra played for the Arizona Diamondbacks (2009-2014), Milwaukee Brewers (2014-15), Baltimore Orioles (2015), Colorado Rockies (2016-18), San Francisco Giants (2019) and Nationals (2019, 2021).

The left-handed hitter and thrower from Venezuela won Gold Glove awards in 2011 and 2013 and batted .275 for his career. He also gained notoriety after joining the Nationals midway through the 2019 regular season, when he chose the children’s song “Baby Shark” as his walk-up music.

“I wanted to put on something different,” Parra said at the time. “My (then-2-year-old daughter) loves that song. Before the game, I tried merengue, reggaeton, hip-hop, then I said, ‘You know what, I want to put in Baby Shark.’ I’m happy for that.”

Parra hit eight home runs and 42 RBIs while batting .250 in 89 games for the Nationals that season and won his only World Series ring. He played in Japan in 2020 and came back to the Nationals for 53 games in 2021.

He finished his career with 90 home runs, 532 RBIs and 633 runs scored.

–Field Level Media