August 13, 2022

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Retired shark: Parra hangs 'em up

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MIAMI — It’s official: World Series champion Gerardo Parra has retired.

Parra, who is perhaps best known for his role in Washington’s 2019 World Series championship and for bringing “Baby Shark” to Nationals Park, announced his retirement from baseball on Monday in an Instagram post. He spent 12 years in the Major Leagues and one season (2020) in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league.

The outfielder began his Major League career in 2009 with the D-backs and had stints with the Brewers, Orioles, Rockies and Giants before finishing his career with the Nationals, who signed Parra as a free agent in 2019 and 2021 and as a Minor League free agent and Spring Training invitee in 2022. The Nationals thanked Parra for his time wearing a curly W with a post to Twitter.

Parra finished his big league career with a .275/.322/.403 slash line, 90 home runs and 532 RBIs. His final game came on Oct. 3, 2021, and his final start on Aug. 7, 2021. In his retirement announcement he expressed his gratitude for the Nationals signing him in 2021 and allowing him to finish his career in a Nats uniform.

Parra also officially announced that he will remain in Washington’s organization as special assistant to the GM, a role that manager Dave Martinez explained will enable Parra to bring his veteran wisdom to the club’s Minor Leaguers — much as he did for Victor Robles and Juan Soto during that 2019 championship season — as the Nationals continue their rebuild.

“I love the guy,” Martinez said prior to the Nats’ series opener against the Marlins. “There’s no surprises about that. 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. …He’s a great addition to this organization.”

In the post, Parra thanked his family and the six Major League organizations he played for, as well as the Yomiuri Giants, for whom he played in Japan. He also emphasized his appreciation for Washington’s organization and fans, as well as the Lerner family and team president Mike Rizzo.

“I want to thank the Lerner family, owners of the Nationals, and their president Mike Rizzo for giving me the opportunity to return to the organization in 2021,” Parra wrote, “allowing me to play my last game as a major leaguer in a Nats uniform, the one that gave me the greatest joy of my career and that now opens the doors for me to start a new path as a Special Assistant to the General Manager, which is undoubtedly a dream job to start a new chapter.”

Parra concluded his post, writing, “Blessings to all and good vibes only,” and signed it, “Parra Shark, Gerardo Parra.”

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