Former superstars Bobby Hull, Larry Csonka and Dave Parker have
probably never been mentioned in the same article until now. But hockey's
famous "Golden Jet," football's "Zonk" and baseball's "Cobra" actually shared
several athletic traits that are now being recognized because of the discovery
of a most unusual item used by all three of them.
First and foremost, these three special athletes possessed exceptional
strength. Parker exhibited his power both at the plate and in the field. He
combined 339 career home runs with a feared rifle of an arm from the right
field corner. No one took an extra base on the "Cobra's" arm. Hull and
Csonka were virtually unstoppable once they built up a head of steam on
their respective playing surfaces. Once either Bobby or Larry were able to
break free from the first line of defense they accelerated forward in the
violent manner of a runaway train. Placed in this situation most
defenders instinctively favored a "chase from behind" strategy over the more
conventionally prescribed direct confrontation technique.
Durable is another trait that applies to all three of these men.
They were noted for lengthy careers and their ability to play through
injuries. Larry rarely missed a game although he suffered more than ten
broken noses, multiple concussions and various other injuries on the
gridiron. Likewise, Bobby seldom missed a game; often receiving his stitches
right on the bench between his normal shifts on the ice.
Dave was perennial driving force in the lineup and played for 19 seasons in
the big leagues.
Hull and Csonka left their respective teams at the peak of their careers
for more financially lucrative contracts offered by new teams in upstart
rival leagues. After playing fifteen seasons for the Chicago Black Hawks of
the NHL Bobby joined the Winnipeg Jets (so named after Bobby's nickname) of
the WHL in 1972. Larry left the Miami Dolphins of the NFL after playing
there for seven seasons and joined the Memphis Southmen of the WFL in 1975.
Interestingly, both player eventually found their way back to their original
leagues where they ended their careers and were elected to their respective
sport's Hall of Fame's. After 11 outstanding seasons Parker left the small
market Pittsburgh Pirates for bigger bucks also and played for five other
major league teams before retiring in 1991.
These former superstars also share an unusual commonality for athletes
playing in three different sports. Both Bobby and
Dave, requiring unconventional equipment to protect their broken jaws while
continuing to play, briefly wore football helmet facemasks identical to the
style worn by Larry for most of his career. The facemask itself was unusual
in that it was made from plastic coated aluminum rather than conventional
steel. It was manufactured by Dungard Inc. and was listed as their "Running
Back" model. Due to its lightweight aluminum frame it was an ideal choice to
attach to Bobby's somewhat meager hockey helmet and Dave's dual earflap
(with retrofitted chinstrap) batting helmet.
Bobby Hull, Larry Csonka and Dave Parker were icons in their respective
athletic careers. Despite sharing the
aforementioned physical characteristics and financial motivations their
unique playing styles have never been previously linked together until
now. With a tip of the hat to those special readers of Helmet Hut, all it
took was the recognition of a very rare and special aluminum football helmet