Remembering Tim Parenton’s career as four-sport player for Jesuit High School
The Jesuit High School family was saddened by the passing of Tim Parenton on October 30. He played high school sports at a time when athletes routinely participated in multiple sports. In Parenton’s case, he excelled at Jesuit High School in football and baseball, while also lettering in basketball and track. Altogether, he earned 11 letters during his Jesuit career. In 1982, he was named the school’s Football Player of the Decade for the 1970s by the Times-Picayune.
Parenton refined his baseball skills as an infielder in Babe Ruth and Metro Prep Baseball leagues. He joined other players on those teams who would eventually become a core group of teammates at Jesuit.
As a junior in 1979, he anchored the Blue Jay infield at shortstop. Led by All-State pitcher Dickie Wentz, Coach Frank Misuraca’s Jesuit squad defeated New Iberia for the state prep championship. Playing for the Jesuit-based Odeco American Legion team, Parenton helped them win the 1979 state championship over Abe’s Grocery from Lake Charles.
Parenton missed the non-district baseball games in 1980 so that he could finish the Blue Jay basketball season. He eventually joined 10 senior members of the team, including six other starters from the previous season that included Wentz, John Faciane, Casey Snyder, Rodney Lenfant, Brian Shearman, and Gregg Barrios.
Jesuit won the first-round of district play, defeating Rummel twice. Rummel prevailed in the second round, defeating Jesuit twice to win the district title. Both teams advanced to the state playoffs, where Jesuit captured its second straight prep championship by defeating Rummel in the finals.
The Jesuit team proceeded to win its second straight state American Legion title and advance to the Legion World Series, but without Parenton. Instead, he opted to begin preparations for his freshman season in football at Mississippi State.
Parenton had been a four-year football letterman for the Blue Jays. He assumed the starting quarterback position in his sophomore year. Running the wishbone offense, Jesuit finished with a 4-6 record.
In the following season, the 5-foot-10 Parenton led the resurgent Blue Jays to a 10-1 regular-season record. Advancing to the state playoffs, they ended up as the runner-up to St. Augustine in an exciting 13-7 championship game before a Superdome crowd of 44,000. Parenton was recognized for his outstanding season at the National Sports Foundation’s Banquet of Champions.
In his senior season, continuing to run the high risk wishbone, Parenton suffered a separated shoulder in a game against St. Augustine which required surgery to repair. He missed Jesuit’s final two games of the season.
He was included in the Times-Picayune’s Blue Chip list representing the top football seniors in the New Orleans areas. He accepted a football/baseball scholarship to attend Mississippi State.
Parenton earned letters in football and baseball at Mississippi State. He continued his career in baseball as a coach and manager at the college and professional levels. In between some of those positions, he returned to Jesuit as head baseball coach in 2008-2010. His 2008 squad was runner-up to Barbe in the state finals. In 2009, he named District 10-5A Coach of the Year, as Jesuit won the district title.
Parenton’s former Jesuit baseball coach, Frank Misuraca, remembers him as a very competitive player, always giving 100%, no matter what sport he was playing. He said, “Tim fit in well on a team of talented players in 1979 and 1980. His consistency was key to being an excellent player.”
Jesuit pitcher Dickie Wentz had high praise for former teammate. He shared recently, “I think of Tim beyond just playing ball. He was Jesuit and encapsulated everything you would want a ‘Jesuit man’ or any person to be. He was kind, generous, intelligent and humble. As an athlete he had an incredible, innate intelligence. He could slow the game down in his head, see the field or the court, and make crucial decisions in an instant. And of course, he had the tremendous physical ability to match.” Wentz added, “As a teammate in both baseball and football, Tim was the kind of leader you can only hope for–rock steady, confident and always there for his teammates.”
Parenton would be an anomaly today. It’s hard to find an amateur athlete who plays more than one sport, let alone four sports. His legacy is secure at Jesuit High School and the New Orleans area.
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New Orleans baseball historian
Richard Cuicchi, Founder of the Metro New Orleans Area Baseball Player Database and a New Orleans area baseball historian, maintains TheTenthInning.com website. He also authored the book, Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia About Baseball’s Relatives. He has contributed to numerous SABR-sponsored Bio Project and Games Project books.