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Parent Made the Most of His Time in Reading
11/03/2011 5:07 PM ET
Mark Parent, pictured above with his two sons, led the R-Phils to the playoffs in 2011.
Mark Parent, pictured above with his two sons, led the R-Phils to the playoffs in 2011. (Ralph Trout)
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He went from Redding to Reading and guided the R-Phils to the playoffs. And now, he’s going to the Windy City.

He is Mark Parent and he is now a member of the Chicago White Sox.

After weeks of speculation, the Chicago White Sox made it official on Monday and announced that Mark Parent will indeed join their club for the 2012 season as their new bench coach.

Parent, 50, joins new White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who was officially named as the club’s manager on October 6 at a press conference. Ventura will manage for the first time in his career and Parent will be his right-hand man.

Parent led the 2011 R-Phils to an impressive 74-68 record in his first and only season at the helm. The club went through many obstacles in 2011 – but Parent kept them going.

Chris Frey, who was signed by the Phillies as a minor league free agent in the offseason, started the season with the R-Phils and had two home runs through his first five games – those were the only games he would play. Frey was placed on the disabled list with a lower back strain on April 14 (retroactive to April 11) and never returned.

Harold Garcia, who was coming off an incredible 2010 season, began the year in Reading, but was lost to an ACL tear in his right knee after just 12 games. Garcia, who was ranked as the 22nd best prospect in the Phillies organization by Baseball America, also never returned to the field in 2011.

Mike Cisco, one of the club’s most reliable relievers, missed a month due to a right elbow strain. And, he wasn’t the only reliever who would be lost.

On June 16, the club lost four of its best players to promotions – including two top relievers. Cody Overbeck, who was leading the Eastern League in home runs (18) and RBIs (46), was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, along with pitchers Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus, and Ryan Edell. De Fratus ended the season in the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen, while Overbeck, Aumont, and Edell excelled for the IronPigs.

On July 26, outfielder Steve Susdorf, who was just a few at-bats away from qualifying for the Eastern League lead in batting average (.339), was lost for the season with a right knee sprain.

The R-Phils lineup and defense would take another huge hit as the club would lose the left side of its infield. On August 2, slick-fielding shortstop Freddy Galvis and third baseman Carlos Rivero were promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Although Rivero returned on August 13, the changes affected the R-Phils in the standings.

On August 3, Terry Evans fractured his left hand when he was hit-by-a-pitch – he was also lost for the season.

Mark Parent, however, kept his team in the race for a playoff spot.

Down the stretch, he led Reading to a five-game win streak to close out the season, and on Monday, September 5 -- the last day of the season, his squad locked up the final playoff spot with a 6-2 win over the Binghamton Mets in Binghamton, NY.

The R-Phils moved on to face the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in the first round of the Eastern League playoffs, but lost in four games. The Fisher Cats eventually beat the Richmond Flying Squirrels to become Eastern League champs for a second-straight season.

Considering all of the changes to the team, including the injuries, promotions, etc., Mark Parent made the best of his situation, and guided the R-Phils to postseason play. He got the most out of his players, and always had them playing their hearts out.

Those who met Mark for the first time back in January, quickly got the sense Reading was in for a solid year on the field. 

Back in January, when Parent was introduced to the media in Reading during a press conference at the Crowne Plaza Reading Hotel, he talked about his goals for the 2011 season, and gave everyone a sense of the kind of manager they could expect to see in Baseballtown.

“For me, when I’m working with young players, I want people who are athletic, energetic, and want to win,” said the new R-Phils skipper.

He later noted, “My guys will know I am here for them. I want them to get better, I want them to have all the success in the world. I managed in two other cities, other than Lakewood, I managed in Lancaster, Cal. and Chico in the Golden League, and we won everywhere — so I expect to win.”

He was certainly there for them in 2011. And, he was certainly there for the fans, and media as well.

He moves into a great situation in Chicago, and could do big things for the club in 2012. He loves to win, and along with his pal Robin Ventura, the two will look to bring some wins to the Windy City.

It was an honor and privilege to get to know Mark this season. I, along with everyone on the R-Phils staff wish him much success in Chicago. We know he will continue to do well and do great things in Chicago. Good luck Bernie!

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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