For the first time since 1974 the best Eastern League players will meet right
here in Baseballtown.
On Wednesday, July 11, Eastern League All-Stars will face-off in the 2012 Baseballtown All-Star Classic at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, PA.
Back in 1974, fans in Baseballtown had a chance to get an up-close look at the best Eastern League All-Stars. On July 22, 1974, the Eastern League's National Division beat the Eastern League's American Division 4-2 at Municipal Memorial Stadium (FirstEnergy Stadium). Several players from that game went on to have successful Major League careers. Now, here is your chance to take a look back at some of the players from that game.
Check back each week as R-Phils PR/Media Relations Director Tommy Viola takes a look at a player from that game. Many of those players went on to have successful Major League careers. Each week, Viola will profile a different player from the 1974 Eastern League All-Star Game.
Larry Parrish 1974 Quebec
Parrish, a native of Winter Haven, FL, was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Montreal Expos in 1972. He made his professional debut that season, and spent 62 games with Jamestown (A) and two games with West Palm Beach (A).
A year later, Parrish had a breakout season -- hitting .293 with 16 home runs for West Palm Beach. One year later, Parrish was a member of the Quebec Carnavals of the Eastern League, and hit .284 with 13 home runs and 77 RBIs. He, along with teammates Ellis Valentine, Warren Cromartie, Denis McSween, and Bill Atkinson, were named as Eastern League All-Stars that season playing right here in Baseballtown for the 1974 E.L. All-Star Game.
At the young age of 20, Parrish made his Major League debut (1974) and appeared in 25 games for the Montreal Expos. After that, Parrish would solidify himself as a solid Major League hitter and everyday third baseman for the Expos.
In 1975, the Florida native hit .274 with 10 home runs and 65 RBIs as a rookie, and finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year votingt behind winner John Montefusco, and teammate Gary Carter who came in second place. He was named to the 1975 Topps All-Star Rookie Team.
Led by Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams, Parrish and Hall of Fame teammates Tony Perez, Andre Dawson, and Carter, helped the Expos finish in second place in the National League East in 1979. Parrish played a big part in the clubs success that season and was named as the Expos Player of the Year after hitting .307 with 30 home runs and 82 RBIs. He was also an All-Star in 1979 -- his first of two MLB All-Star Game appearances.
Parrish spent eight seasons in Montreal and hit .263 with 100 home runs and 444 RBIs over that span.
On March 31, 1982, Parrish was traded along with Dave Hostetler to the Texas Rangers for Al Oliver. During the 1982 season, Parrish hit three grand slams in a week tying the Major League record set by Jim Northrup in 1968. He continued his solid hitting with the Rangers, and spent seven seasons in Texas as the club's regular outfielder and designated hitter.
The 1987 season was a special one for Parrish, who finished the year with a .268 batting average, and career-highs in home runs (32) and RBIs (100). He was an All-Star that season, and went 1-1 in the All-Star Game, which was held in Oakland, CA.
Parrish finished-up his Major League career with the division-winning Boston Red Sox in 1988 and then moved on to play in Japan for two seasons (1989-90). He led the Japanese Central League in home runs with 42 in 1989 and hit 28 a year later.
In all, the 6'3" slugger spent 15 seasons in the Majors and retired with a .263 career average, 256 career home runs, and 992 career RBIs. He was a two-time All-Star, had five seasons of 20 or more home runs, and had two seasons of 30 or more home runs and 100 or more RBIs.
After finishing his playing career, Parrish joined the Tigers organization in 1992, and spent 13 seasons in the organization as a Minor League manager, Major League manager and coach, a scout, and a roving Minor League hitting instructor.
Among his accomplishments as a manager, Parrish led the Niagara Falls Rapids to a New York Penn League championship in 1993, led the Jacksonville Suns to a Southern League championship in 1996, and led the Toledo Mud Hens (AAA) to back-to-back Governors Cup championships in 2005 and 2006.
Most recently, Parrish spent one season with the Atlanta Braves (2011) as their hitting coach.
Attention fans! Did you attend the 1974 Eastern League All-Star Game here in Reading? If so, I would like to hear from you. Email me (Tommy Viola) at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know your memories of that game. I would love to sit down and talk to you one day and put together a feature story/video, which I would then post to the R-Phils official website in the near future.