- C, 1B, DH, LF, OF, RF
- Big Wheel
- June 15, 1956
- 6' 3"
- 210 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-05-1977 with DET
- Allstar Selections:
- 1980 SS, 1982 SS, 1983 GG, 1983 SS, 1984 GG, 1984 SS, 1985 GG, 1986 SS, 1990 SS
Lance Parrish was the finest all-around catcher in the American League in the early and mid-1980s. He set a league mark for home runs in a season by a catcher, and in the 1982 All-Star Game he established a record when he gunned down three National League speedsters on the base paths. He had tremendous power, but poor strike-zone judgment. He was a slow runner and hit into many double plays, but was a near-perfect physical specimen due to his weight-lifting regimen.
In Detroit, Parrish was replaced by Matt Nookes, who posted great numbers in 1987 (32 homers, .536 SLG). Parrish played the last four years of his career as a part-time catcher. His last starting job was with the Angels in 1991. After a slow start in 1992, the Angels replaced Parrish with Mike Fitzgerald and Ron Tingley.
Though he missed a few weeks with injuries, Parrish blasted 32 home runs - a new AL record for a catcher. Parrish posted a career-high .529 slugging mark and batted .284 - well above his career average. He made the All-Star team and established himself as the finest defensive catcher in the AL.
Lance Parrish once served as Tina Turner's bodyguard.
On Friday the 13th (April 13, 1984), Lance Parrish - wearing #13 - scored the 13th run in Detroit's 13-9 victory over Boston.
Detroit Tigers (1999-2001, 2003-)
Parrish was not signed as a free agent in the off-season of 1986 because Detroit (and several other clubs, it turned out later) were refusing to spend big money on the open market. He was let go to the Phillies in a move that was very unpopular with Tiger fans. The failure to stay in Detroit hurt both the Tigers and Parrish in the long run. Parrish struggled in Philadelphia, never really adapting to National League ball. The Tigers filled his spot with Matt Nokes for a few years but never regained the consistent leadership and power from the catcher spot until Mickey Tettleton arrived in 1991. Had Parrish stayed in Detroit he may have finished his career as a Tiger and hit far more home runs in friendly Tiger Stadium, ultimately helping his Hall of Fame chances. Instead, he will likely remain on the outside and watch Gary Carter enter the Hall of Fame - a contemporary with similar skills.
On September 28, 1982, Parrish hit his 31st home run in a 9-6 win over the Orioles, breaking the American League single-season record for catchers that he had shared with Yogi Berra and Gus Triandos. Since then, the record has been eclipsed by Carlton Fisk and others.
The Tigers vs. Rickey
Parrish was behind the plate on April 28, 1991, for the Angels, when Rickey Henderson stole his 938th base, tying Lou Brock for the all-time mark. In 1982, Parrish was at home with his wife awaiting the birth of their first child when Henerson stole his 117th base, coming within one of Brock's single-season record. When he tried to steal third to tie the record, Henderson was thrown out by Bill Fahey, Parrish's replacement. Prior to the steal attempts, Oakland's Fred Stanley had been picked off second, setting up the opportunity for Henderson to set the mark at home. Tiger manager Sparky Anderson was incensed at Stanley's move. "All honor has left this game if Stanley isn't fined the highest figure ever. If he isn't, there is no commissioner of baseball," Sparky said. "He's discredited this game and he is totally unforgivable. I don't even want to hear what he has to say."
Not Helping Reggie
In an article written for Sports Illustrated in September of 2006, Tom Verduci related an incident involving Lance Parrish and Reggie Jackson: [Jackson] was in the midst of such a horrific strikeout streak that he pleaded to Detroit Tigers catcher Lance Parrish, "Tell me what's coming, and I promise I'll take a turn right back into the dugout no matter where I hit it. I just want to look like a pro a little bit." (Parrish replied, "F--- you"; Jackson, to his immense satisfaction, grounded out.)
These catchers won both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award in the same season: 1981 --- Gary Carter 1982 --- Gary Carter 1983 -- Lance Parrish 1984 -- Lance Parrish 1990 --- Benito Santiago 1994 --- Ivan Rodriguez 1995 --- Ivan Rodriguez 1996 --- Ivan Rodriguez 1997 --- Ivan Rodriguez 1998 --- Ivan Rodriguez 1999 --- Ivan Rodriguez The Silver Slugger has been awarded in each league since 1980.
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