Lance Parrish - Major League Career

Major League Career

Parrish was drafted as a third baseman by the Detroit Tigers in the first round of the 1974 Major League Baseball draft. While playing for the Lakeland Tigers in the minor leagues, he was converted to a catcher. He reached the major leagues in 1977 on a part-time basis, and by 1979 he had replaced Milt May as the team's regular catcher. In 1979, he also played winter baseball in Puerto Rico with the Mayaguez Indians. Parrish hit for a .286 batting average along with 24 home runs and 82 runs batted in during the 1980 season to earn his first American League All-Star team berth, as well as winning his first Silver Slugger Award.

Parrish's most productive offensive season was 1982 when he posted a .284 batting average with 32 home runs and 87 runs batted in, winning another Silver Slugger Award in the process. He followed that in 1983 with 27 home runs and 114 runs batted in, earning his third Silver Slugger Award, as well as winning his first Gold Glove Award. Parrish was an integral member of the world championship-winning 1984 Detroit Tigers team. Batting as the clean-up hitter, he produced 33 home runs and 98 runs batted in, adding another Silver Slugger Award as well as a second Gold Glove Award to his credentials. He also caught Jack Morris' no-hitter on April 7 of that season. The Tigers led the American League Eastern Division season from start to finish, then defeated the Kansas City Royals in the 1984 American League Championship Series, before winning the 1984 World Series against the San Diego Padres.

After ten years with the Tigers, Parrish signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent before the 1987 season. The Phillies made their slogan for the season "Lance us a Pennant." He quickly fell out of favor with the Philadelphia fans and media in his second season there as a result of poor offensive output, ranking near the bottom of full-time major league players in 1988 with a .215 batting average. Afterwards, he played three seasons and parts of a fourth with the California Angels before ending his career with short stints for the Mariners, Indians, Pirates and Blue Jays. Parrish was also with the Los Angeles Dodgers in spring training 1993, but he failed to make the squad as rookie Mike Piazza's performance showed the club that Piazza was ready to be a starting major-league catcher. Parrish also signed to return to the Tigers in 1994, but his contract was purchased by the Pirates before he ever got back to the majors with Detroit. He signed with the Royals in 1995 but was traded to Toronto before he appeared in any major league games with Kansas City. He signed once again with Pittsburgh in 1996, but did not make the team.

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