The bitterness that resides in Dave Parker does not befit his jovial, animated clubhouse manner.

"I think you have to have a certain degree of fun in everything you do. If you can joke with one another and kid one another, you have to be a close unit," said Milwaukee's Parker, who earned the designated hitter of the year award last season with Oakland after hitting 22 home runs and driving in 97 runs. He signed with the Brewers in December as a free agent.

"The biggest addition to our club has been Dave Parker," said Brewers relief ace Dan Plesac. "So much is made of Dave being a leader in the clubhouse and a leader on the field. He has been very productive for us. He jokes around and he has fun. But when it is time to put the game face on, he does."

Parker also puts on his game face when he discusses his years with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds.

"In Cincinnati, I thought I got a raw deal from Pete Rose, the fact he tried to use me as a scapegoat," said Parker, who played for Rose from 1984 to 1987.

"Still, Cincinnati is my home town and I enjoyed being there for four years, so I don't have any hard feelings for them as a team."

He cannot say the same of the Pirates.

"When you speak in terms of Pittsburgh, I hate what they tried to do in their lawsuit," he said, referring to a suit the Pirates filed in 1986 seeking to void the contract he signed in 1979 that stipulated the team had to make deferred payments of $5.3 million to him.

The suit was settled out of court in 1988. It was filed after Parker testified in 1985, at what became known as the "baseball drug trials," that his use of cocaine contributed to his playing slump in the 1980s.

"I hate the fact that they tried to say they didn't get their money's worth out of me when I was considered the best player in baseball for six of the 10 years I was there," said Parker. "So I have nothing but malice and hate for the organization in Pittsburgh."

Despite his declared animosity toward Rose, banned from baseball for life, Parker believes the major league's all-time hit leader belongs in the Hall of Fame.

"I hope he makes it," said Parker. "He did it on the field. You can say anything about what he did personally. But as a baseball player he played his butt off. He got 4,000 hits, which I think will never be done again. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame."

Parker, 39, is trying to lead the Brewers by example -- as he did in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Oakland. Through Thursday Parker was batting .298 with 14 home runs and 70 RBI.

"The thing that worked so well in Oakland is that we had a lot of fun in the clubhouse before the game, but when we got on the field it was all business," he said. "We developed a cohesiveness you don't find in a lot of families. I think a lot of it was triggered from what we did and said in the clubhouse. I have just been accustomed to it, even when I was with the Pirates and Cincinnati.

"Everybody has this big thing about me being over here to provide leadership and to be a verbalizer in the clubhouse, but basically I came over here to hit 25 to 30 home runs and drive in 100 RBIs. I'm playing because I think I can still play with pride. I'm here to produce."

"He has been real positive and he has helped a lot of the young guys like {Greg} Vaughn and {Gary} Sheffield to get adjusted to what it is like," said Plesac. "He has probably been the most valuable player on our club."

Parker's strategy for winning a championship is simple:

"We have a theory you try to win each series. Two out of three or three out of four. What you do is plant those seeds. Like, 'Hey, this is what we did to win in Oakland and this is what we did to win in Cincinnati or this is what we did to win in Pittsburgh.' That's what I try to do here."

In addition to trying to guide the Brewers to a championship, Parker says he has some personal goals left to achieve, including making the Hall of Fame.

"I'd like to get as close as I can to 3,000 hits. If I can do that, I'd like to get a shot at the Hall," he said. "The Hall is really not a major thing to me. It's just the fact that I want to get in because I have been a player who has been victimized in a lot of ways. People have put all of these negative labels on me. Nobody has ever talked about what I have provided as a player.

"I mean, I have been a very consistent player. I have a lifetime .293 average. At the end of this season, I will be at about 2,600 hits. I still have a quick bat and I still could play three or four more years. I want people to say one thing about Dave Parker: 'He put numbers up.' "