Clarence Parker Brooklyn-New York Yankees (AAFC) & New York Yankees (AAFC) & Boston Yanks (NFL)
Ace Parker never really intended to play pro football when he completed his career as an All-American tailback at Duke University in 1936. His ambition was to be a major league baseball player and he signed a contract with the Philadelphia Athletics. But after the 1937 baseball season, he obtained permission from the Athletics to give pro football a try.
He joined the Brooklyn Dodgers of the National Football League, still really expecting to play out just one pro football season and then call it a career. History now records that the 1937 season wasn't "the end of it" for the 5-10, 178-pound fireball. Ace stayed with the Dodgers until World War II military service interrupted his career in 1942.
He returned to the pros in 1945 with the Boston Yanks then added a brilliant final campaign with the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference in 1946.
Interestingly, it was baseball and not the huge NFL linemen that Ace faced every weekend that proved to be the biggest stumbling block in his career. Broken ankles twice endangered his pro football career and, in 1940, he won Most Valuable Player honors in the NFL even though he had suffered a broken left ankle in a summer baseball game that year. For the first three weeks of the season, he had to wear a 10-pound brace that extended from his ankle to his knee.
Ace wasn't exceptionally fast anyway, but he continued doing just what he had always done – running, passing, catching passes, punting, placekicking, returning punts and kickoffs and playing defense. The Brooklyn Dodgers of the early 1940s were a constant threat to the New York Giants and Washington Redskins for supremacy in their division and Parker was the guiding force of the Dodgers attack.